HERRING COVE BEACH, CAPE COD NATIONAL SEASHORE, PROVINCETOWN, MASSACHUSETTS
A project by Jay Critchley
A planetary dream deferred.
Herring Cove Beach in Cape Cod National Seashore was dramatically transformed by four nor'easter storms in the winter of 2018. Although not unprecedented, the break in the narrow sand spit created an enormous breach that threatens the protected salt marsh behind it. Exposed after the barrier dune was washed away were three pilings that formed the base of a measured nautical mile target.
A 1950s breach prompted a muscular human intervention, reminiscent of our belief that we could control and master the the unrelenting power of the ocean. And now, climate change, ocean warming and sea level rise. A minor breach in the 1980s was repaired naturally by sand build up.
Shrouded Rainbow - The Transformation of the Natural and Civic Environment is a metaphor for the erosion of civic discourse that is undermining our ability to respond effectively to the planetary crisis we face.
Thanks to David Dunlap, Building Provincetown, and Bill Burke, Cape Cod National Seashore, for historic images and map.