With its sandy beaches, dunes and brackish marshes, forests and open grasslands, Cape Cod of yesteryear was a wild, untamed place.
Hardwood forests of oak, maple and cherry were home to packs of wolves and black bears. Overhead, birds of prey including owls and hawks thrived in these woods. Freshwater rivers and ‘kettle’ ponds were carved by retreating glaciers with yellow perch, brook trout and chain pickerel left behind. Offshore, humpback and right whales numbering in the thousands migrated to and from Cape Cod Bay, Nantucket Sound and the open Atlantic to the east.
But how did the white colonists change the landscape and shore? What invasive species of birds, fish and animals exist here now? Why, when and how did we as a culture shift from killing many of these animals to desperately attempting to conserve them, and their habitats, too?
Those looking for a comprehensive immersion into Cape Cod’s wild and natural past will find this latest book by Historian Theresa Mitchell Barbo an engrossing read.