Cape Cod National Seashore Bill Signed by JFK – August 7, 1961

Last week we posted a connection here to an interview with George Price – current Superintendent of the Cape Cod National Seashore Park and formerly a Deputy Superintendent in Lowell. Today MassMoments reminds us that it was on this day fifty years ago – August 7, 1961 that President John F. Kennedy signed the bill authorizing the creation of this Cape Cod Seashore National Park. Roots for the discussion of the park go back to 1939 but stalled by the War they resurfaced in the mid-1950s. Both Senator Kennedy and Senator Leverett Saltonstall were supporters of the park plan. The senators introduced the bill in the Senate on September 3, 1959 and Cape Cod Congressman Hastings Keith sponsored an identical bill in the House. Not without controversy, complications, concern and land taking – the bill preserving certain unique shore lands and resources for public recreation for current and future generations was finally passed into law in 1961.

On this day…
…in 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed a bill authorizing the establishment of Cape Cod National Seashore. A long-time summer resident of the Cape, J.F.K. had co-sponsored the legislation while in the Senate. The goal, he wrote, was “to preserve the natural and historic values of a portion of Cape Cod for the inspiration and enjoyment of people all over the United States.” This was the first time the federal government had created a national park out of land that was primarily in private hands. Months of hearings and meetings were required to produce a bill that balanced private and public interests. Today the Seashore encompasses more than 43,000 acres and draws more than 4,000,000 visitors a year.

Read the full MassMoments article here.