‘Expedition Blue’ kiosks show connection between ocean and Cape Cod economy



Six years ago, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce launched Project Blue Economy to raise awareness of the cultural and economic opportunities that the ocean and the environment provide on Cape Cod.

The initiative is designed to expose adults and children to the idea that the blue economy offers many more options than is blatantly obvious, said Wendy Northcross, CEO of the House until her retirement on Wednesday.

Cape Cod’s Blue Economy

“You don’t have to be like a doctor. You can work in a lab to help starfish,” said Northcross, one of the project’s guiding forces. Waterfront sectors, aquaculture, commercial fishing, marine technology, marine science, transportation and recreation are all part of the blue economy.

In conjunction with the Blue Economy effort, waterfront “Expedition Blue” facilities of various sizes – with parts described as markers, sights, and waypoints – were placed to pass through. the message to visitors and residents on the water as our way of life.

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They have been installed in eight towns in Cape Town, and by the end of the summer, facilities are also expected to be installed at Owen Park Beach in Vineyard Haven and Children’s Beach in Nantucket.

‘Ruining the view’

Room organizers, however, are already moving a facility to Provincetown after several officials and residents complained that it was partially blocking the ocean, which it was supposed to celebrate.

“It looks like big chunks of crap ruining a view,” Select board chairman David Abramson said on June 16 at the first face-to-face board meeting since the pandemic. COVID-19.

The first Expedition Blue structure installed in Provincetown, located at the West End boat launch, is moved to another location following a vote by the board of directors.

The West End boat launch installation was put in place in June but will now be moved, once consultations with city staff and the city’s Department of Public Works are completed, according to the Navy and Emergency Management Coordinator Rex McKinsey. The port committee was due to meet last Wednesday to consider new locations based on the recommendations of the select committee, he said.

“We hope (the new site) will be a little less controversial,” Bert Jackson, director of community engagement at the Cape Cod Blue Economy Foundation, told The Times.

The other seven “Expedition Blue” sites in Provincetown were installed in accordance with a unanimous vote of the May 2020 board of directors approving the city landings project and other public spaces recommended by the harbor committee, the officials said. responsible for the project.

This is also the case for the other 25 facilities around Cape Town and the Islands, Jackson said, for what he called “a very special project” that is part of the overall blue economy initiative. All wayfinders are expected to be completed this month, and an online map explaining how to find them should be available soon.

The eight participating Cape Towns are Provincetown, Brewster, Chatham, Yarmouth, Barnstable (in Hyannis), Falmouth, Sandwich and Bourne.

The installation of the blue expedition

All materials for the structures were purchased after signed commitments from all participating cities, Northcross said in a statement last month to Provincetown Banner. No other city has rejected any of the projects, although there were cities that chose not to participate when they were initially invited, she said.

Although the different structures come in different sizes and shapes, each site has an 8 x 12-inch viewfinder plate that gives visitors information about what they’re looking at, as well as a multimedia and user-friendly addition. phones a QR code and short URL allowing visitors to find more information about each site and map, Jackson told The Times.

He described the markers as large cubes, double cubes, benches and posts – posts 8 feet high each with a post 4 feet wide – that frame a view. Each marker highlights the diversity of blue economy sectors based on their history, importance, operations, future opportunities and uniqueness.

Here is the regional map that shows the extent of the Expedition Blue network throughout the Cape Cod region. [Courtesy/Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce]

What is “Blue Expedition”?

The concept of the blue economy seeks to balance and develop the region’s economy by focusing on its water and coastal resources, according to the chamber’s website.

“It’s rooted in the recognition that the environment is our economy and that the two are inextricably linked,” the website said.

Expedition Blue aims to connect the broad regional interests and offerings of the blue economy sectors to attract a large audience of educators, visitors and locals, according to the project’s website. The Waypoints project aims to create a geographic path linked to interpretive markers.

“The blue economy is hidden and hidden,” said Northcross, who retired after 24 years and described Expedition Blue to The Times as his “separation plan”.

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The project was designed for all ages, according to the bluecapecod.org/expedition-blue website, “but with a particular emphasis on educating young people about the special relationship with our waters, how it supports us, how we in take care and how to engage for the future.

In discussion for years

The Chamber launched Project Blue Economy in 2015 and the Cape Cod Blue Economy Foundation Inc. was established in 2017 to support it. Jackson has worked as a community liaison officer for two years. The Expedition Blue project was first discussed by the Provincetown Harbor Committee at the end of 2019, for example, and the city’s sites were approved by the Select Board in May 2020, were the subject of a call for offers in September 2020, then were installed in June.

The Expedition Blue network of sites in Cape Town and Islands received a grant from the Seaport Economic Council of the Baker-Polito administration, to promote the region’s economic and social ties to water.

Despite unanimous approval in May 2020, several Provincetown Select board members said on June 16 that they had no recollection of approving the project which included the controversial 8-foot-high installation.

Although the project is worth it, said Robert Anthony, a member of the board of directors of Select, during this meeting, concerns were expressed about the choices behind the design. The idea was to allow one person to look through the structure to frame the beach and the sky ahead, with two benches nearby for longer viewing.

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While some of the 166 comments on a June 13 Facebook post about Provincetown’s structure called it “charming,” others were much more critical. Select’s vice chairman, John Golden, said at the June 16 meeting: “It sounds like it’s trying to be a work of art that ultimately blocks the view. For me it is too much. “

Other facilities in Provincetown include two half-walls on the boardwalk across from the Whydah Museum and a waterfront park next to the old fueling dock, McKinsey said. Both of these sites are located near the waterfront at MacMillan Pier.

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Overall, the design of some of the facilities was inspired by the rescue huts that once dotted the Cape Coast as a refuge for shipwrecked sailors, according to the chamber’s website. Since not all installation sites can accommodate a complete structure, a kit of parts adaptable to a range of sites and stories has been designed by the architectural firm CambridgeSeven.

Each text is unique, however.

“In Provincetown, to be more of a unique style, we wanted to express our heritage, the history of this place as well as talk about all of these other ways we live from the ocean,” McKinsey said after the June 16 meeting. . “Water transportation, whale watching businesses, commercial fishing and aquaculture are not just what’s happening now, it’s our story. It is our heritage.

Jackson said he hopes the overall project will grab everyone’s attention, but especially the younger generation.

“If your 14 year old son or daughter was standing here and looking over there, what would you want them to know about that?” ” he said. “How can we inspire, especially young people, to understand what their future is here in the blue economy? ”


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