Wasque

Martha's Vineyard, United States

Wasque

Wasque ("way-squee") or Wasque Beach is a 200-acre (0.81 km2) nature reserve on Chappaquiddick Island, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. The site was established as a reservation for the public in 1967 and is one of five conservation areas on "the Vineyard" managed by the Trustees of Reservations. Wasque contains a sandy strand the Boston Globe calls "a magnificent beach." Travel + Leisure named Wasque Beach the number one beach in New England and WHDH-TV reports "It's pristine, serene, and rain or shine, it's a beach-goers' delight." Off the shore of Wasque Beach is Katama Bay, "a vast and pristine salt water bay that includes many acres of productive shellfish beds."

Wasque has a sand barrens ecosystem. One of a number of such habitats in isolated locations from Maine to New Jersey, the reservation's landscape and geography were formed by ancient outwash deposits from glacial till. The free-draining, acidic, dry, and sandy soil sustains coastal heathlands, oak and pitch pine woodlands, and sandplain grasslands. Wasque is home to such species as beach plum, bearberry, blackberry, black huckleberry, blue toadflax, bluets, chokeberry, dwarf cinquefoil, golden heather, late lowbush blueberry, Nantucket shadbush, rockrose, and yellow stargrass. These areas are "globally rare communities" and only maintained through relatively intensive land management that includes domesticated animals grazing the grass, mechanical mowing and clearing of vegetation, and even controlled burning.



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