Cape Cod National Seashore

Statute Establishing Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS) (Pub.L. 87-126, Aug. 7, 1961, 75 Stat. 284, 16 U.S.C. sec. 459b et seq.)

Remarks of President John F. Kennedy on signing legislation establishing the Cape Cod National Seashore, August 7, 1961 (”… [to] preserve the natural and historic values of a portion of Cape Cod…. I commend the Congress for giving very careful judgment in balancing off public needs in the interests of people who live in this section of the Cape, and I think that they have done an admirable job in serving both interests in this piece of legislation. I cosponsored, as a Member of the Senate, a similar bill. It is a very old part of the United States, and I must say that from personal knowledge I realize very well how useful this is going to be for the people of the Cape and Massachusetts and New England and the entire United States.”)

JFK Signs Bill Creating Cape Cod National Seashore“, MassMoments, Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities (historical background summarized)

CCNS Zoning Standards Regulations (36 CFR sec. 27)
(Includes Sec. 27.3 (b) “Zoning bylaws for the Seashore District shall be consistent with the objectives and purposes of the Act of August 7, 1961, so that—to the extent possible under Massachusetts law—the scenic, scientific and cultural values of the area will be protected, undeveloped areas will be preserved in a natural condition, and the distinctive Cape Cod character of existing residential structures will be maintained.”)

CCNS Web Home Page

CCNS Advisory Commission - Charter, Minutes, List of Commissioners - Statement of U.S. Dept of Interior on 1998 reauthorization

CCNS “Use Guidelines” (”50% expansion guideline”)

CCNS General Management Plan (1998) (complete)
(Includes “Non-Federal Lands within the National Seashore”)

CCNS Application Form for Certificate of Suspension of Condemnation

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Legislative History (U.S. Senate Committee Report 87-428, June 20, 1961, on S. 857, a bill which, as amended, became Public Law 87-126 creating the Cape Cod National Seashore)

The purpose of this bill is to provide for the establishment of a Cape Cod National Seashore so that lower Cape Cod may be preserved in substantially its present condition for the benefit of all the people of the United States of present and future generations.
Lower Cape Cod cannot be considered solely as a geographical area with certain physical characteristics. The lower cape must also be viewed as a way of life– a culture– which though conditioned by its environment finds its essence in the people who have lived and are living there. This bill seeks to preserve the way of life which these people have established and maintained on the cape.  (1961 U.S. Code Congr. & Admin. News pp. 2212-2238 at 2227) 

The conservation intent of the proposed reservation should not be reduced, but rather enhanced by its recreational capacity.  The primary purpose of the proposed Cape Cod National Seashore is to preserve henceforth for public enjoyment the scenic, scientific, and historic features that exist here. …
Since Cape Cod is not an unsettled wilderness area, but is more heavily settled, enjoys more compact town government, and has a considerably greater degree of development than most previous park areas, it is important that legislation establishing a seashore there meet the legitimate interests of existing residents. Thus S. 857 designates the most exact possible boundaries, includes provisions which afford a method by which the threat of residential property condemnation can be eliminated by local action, and enables the six towns lying within the diagram of the seashore to maintain a sound tax and development base. The bill gives each residential landowner a minimum guarantee of retaining occupancy up to 25 years. Moreover, in any of the six towns which adopt zoning meeting standards defined by the Secretary of the Interior, the bill assures all homeowners in those towns whose property lines lie within the diagram of the seashore the right to continue to own and occupy their home without interruption or interference so long as the zoning is kept in force.  The bill encourages the Department of the Interior to give the respected and responsible property owners of the lower cape living within the seashore area and their children the most sympathetic consideration and cooperation, enabling them to hold and administer their property as they have in the past, subject to the equitable restrictions which the bill provides and which lie within the administrative authority and judgment of the Secretary.   (1961 U.S. Code Congr. & Admin. News pp. 2212-2238 at 2220-2221.)