Posted on May 22, 2023
In Salisbury, miles of beach sit empty now. With crowds set to swell in the coming weeks, there is a wave of worry.
“It becomes very dangerous for children playing here because these dunes can collapse,” said Tom Saab, a Salisbury resident.
Salisbury, like many coastal towns, is battling beach erosion. A surprise late December storm that battered coastal towns up and down the Massachusetts coastline, washed away a lot of sand.
“It will take your house in a heartbeat, one good rogue wave,” Lawrence Kady, a Salisbury resident, said Wednesday.
Kady has lived on the beach for years, and estimates he has lost 40% of his backyard to dune damage.
That December 2022 storm also damaged three access points on Salisbury Beach. Stairs remain broken, and in one case, the stairs end 8 feet above the sand, showcasing just how much sand has washed away.
“We can’t have people trying to access the beach in unsafe ways, whether that be over the dune with that steep verticality or an access point that isn’t structurally sound,” said Republican State Sen. Bruce Tarr.
“Obviously this is a beach that needs serious attention, and it has needed serious attention for quite a while,” the Senator added. “There is definitely a real urgency here.”
The Department of Conservation and Recreation has been working to repair the three damaged access points ahead of the busy summer season.
“If we don’t address this damage now, it is going to get worse,” said Senator Tarr.
DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo hears the calls for help.
“It is all hands on deck, and we will make sure Salisbury continues to be the beautiful beach that it is,” said Arrigo.
The commissioner praised the cooperation from state and local officials working with residents to find a more long-term solution to repair the dunes as well.
“Certainly something we are going to have to tackle, but I think, our priority has been these access points for this summer season, and making sure the beach season isn’t interrupted, and that folks can enjoy the beach safely,” said Commissioner Arrigo.
“We know this bigger issue is one we are going to have to tackle, and we are going to have to all work together to tackle it,” he added.
Back on Salisbury Beach, the fear remains.
“I am pretty nervous about the oncoming winter, one more big Nor’easter and these dunes start collapsing, it is scary, very scary,” Salisbury resident Rick Rigoli said.