Generation of Woods Hole residents, students, scientists and their families have grown up on Stoney Beach. Development of the beach frontage would limit access and destroy the character of this vital Woods Hole landmark. Hundreds turned out on August 21st to tell Dr. Borisy that MBL needs to protect Stoney.
Dear Dr. Borisy and members of the Board of MBL,
We the undersigned were saddened to hear that MBL is considering selling its property abutting Stoney Beach, including the beach frontage, tennis courts and parking lot.
For over 85 years since the original donation of the land by Edward Browning Meigs, Stoney Beach has been a treasured recreation spot for Woods Hole and its scientific community, and MBL has been a faithful steward of Meigs’ donation. Generations of Woods Hole residents, students, scientists and their families have been raised on the aptly named not quite perfect white sands of Stoney, and the beach has been as vital a part of the intellectual life of the town and its institutions as Lillie or Redfield auditoriums. Scientist Lewis Thomas called Stoney the MBL’s “ganglion” describing the extraordinary hum generated by the sunning scientists, the “half shout, half-song made by confluent, simultaneously raised human voices, explaining things to each other.”
While we are heartened that the town of Falmouth apparently has a right to the beach itself, we disagree strongly with the contention that this vital landmark would be unharmed by the development of the MBL land directly facing it.
The beach has always been a public and open one, and to limit access to a narrow corridor and place residential development running up to the high water mark would completely destroy that character. To eliminate parking would severely inconvenience those who come from all over Woods Hole to enjoy it, while also further crowding the downtown and surrounding areas. The tennis courts themselves have a proud history and their use has only recently dropped off as they have fallen into disrepair.
We understand the financial pressures on MBL and all scientific institutions today, but disagree strongly with the contention that Stoney Beach does not have a role in furthering the institution’s mission. We hope MBL will recognize its obligation to the Woods Hole community to ensure that Stoney Beach remains the special place it is today for another 85 years and beyond.
We look forward to working with you,