Mashpee town leaders and public safety officials are urging residents in the Noisy Hole Road, Meetinghouse Road, Goodspeed Road, and Sarakumit Village neighborhoods to be vigilant of any unfamiliar vehicles entering the wooded areas abutting the town’s conservation lands.
“If they see something suspicious, we ask that they call the Mashpee Police Department or Department of Public Works immediately,” DPW director Catherine E. Laurent said.
Earlier this week, construction debris, the burned remains of at least five mattresses, electronics, and other household items were found illegally dumped in the Noisy Hole Conservation Area. In addition, there were signs that a large amount of wooden structures and brush were being piled in anticipation of a large bonfire being set in the area. Acting Mashpee Fire Chief Thomas C. Rullo said that he is particularly concerned about the risk of a bonfire spreading out of control given the recent dry weather conditions.
In 2012 a major community cleanup of the property was conducted, and three galvanized gates were installed to block access to the area from Route 28 and Goodspeed Road. A fourth gate was planned for the southern side of the paved portion of Noisy Hole Road, but was rejected by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which owns land on one side of that portion of the road.
Crews from the DPW removed the debris and bonfire materials on Tuesday, and blocked access paths to the property that were created between the three gates that were erected during the cleanup campaign.
Ms. Laurent said that she suspects that cars, trucks, and all-terrain vehicles are gaining access to the conservation area from the tribal property or from Goodspeed Road. As of press time, a spokesman for the tribe had not responded to an inquiry as to whether the tribe had any plans to monitor or prevent vehicles from entering town conservation lands from its property.
Mashpee Conservation Agent Andrew R. McManus expressed his disgust with the latest discovery of illegal dumping and bonfire “party” activity after what he called a “miraculous” cleanup of the conservation area in 2012. He is advocating increased police patrols of the area to “catch them in the act,” and send a strong message that illegal dumping and partying in the conservation area will no longer be tolerated, and, in fact, will result in prosecution.
Mashpee Town Manager Joyce M. Mason has issued an appeal to residents to help prevent a potentially dangerous situation from occurring in the conservation area. “We need the neighborhood to help us out. We can only do as much as we can. If people can keep an eye open and get a license plate, we will use all means necessary to take appropriate action,” she said.