Pine Hill (Barnstable County, Massachusetts)

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Pine Hill
Summit of Pine Hill, Bourne, MA.jpg
Summit of Pine Hill
Elevation 306 ft (93 m)
Prominence 306 ft (93 m)
Location
Location Bourne, MA, U.S.
Range Buzzards Bay Moraine
Coordinates 41°42′31″N 70°33′56″W / 41.70861°N 70.56556°W / 41.70861; -70.56556Coordinates: 41°42′31″N 70°33′56″W / 41.70861°N 70.56556°W / 41.70861; -70.56556
Topo map USGS Pocasset
Climbing
Easiest route Road

Pine Hill, in Bourne, Massachusetts, United States, is the highest point in Barnstable County and, by extension, Cape Cod.[1] At 306 feet (93 m), it is almost twice as high as Dennis's 160-foot (53 m) Scargo Hill, sometimes thought to be the highest on the peninsula,[2][3][4] among other local favorites.[5]

It is located off Frank Perkins Road, within the Camp Edwards portion of the Massachusetts Military Reservation. Access to it is restricted, not only because it is on a military facility but because it lies at the rear of an artillery range.

Natural history and geography[edit]

The hill is part of the Buzzards Bay Moraine, created over ten thousand years ago by retreating glaciers at the end of the last ice age.[6] It is two miles (3.2 km) inland from Buzzards Bay itself and a mile from Massachusetts Route 28. The area is distinguished by sandy soil, bouldery till and an abundance of the pitch pine that gives the hill its name. Lower, hummocky hills and a few small glacial ponds make up the surrounding landscape.[7]

The hill was noted as a prominent feature of the Cape Cod landscape as early as 1874, when it was still part of the town of Sandwich (Bourne would not be created for another ten years).[8] Military use of the surrounding area began in 1911; in 1935 the state created and began building the Massachusetts Military Reservation complex after the Massachusetts National Guard outgrew Fort Devens.[9] Other than the road near it, the Pine Hill area has remained mostly undeveloped. Then-governor Paul Cellucci wanted to convert the area into a state conservation area in 1999, but dropped the plan after the Guard objected.

Approach[edit]

Members of the public may visit Pine Hill, but must arrange advance permission through the base's Public Affairs Office (PAO) and show identification when visiting the base. These requirements were in place before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, but have been more rigorously enforced since then.

A PAO escort leads visitors over several miles of roads to a range station on a rise near the hill. From there it is a short walk down Frank Perkins to a narrow road leading up a gentle slope an even shorter distance to the summit of Pine Hill, a small clearing with a USGS benchmark set in a small concrete monument at the middle marking the 306-foot (93 m) elevation. It is necessary to stay on the road and path because of the possibility of unexploded ordnance in the woods. Surveying and meteorological research equipment is sometimes located at the summit. Any view is obscured by surrounding trees.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cape Cod Geographic Facts". Cape Cod Commission. 2006-12-19. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  2. ^ Rockhopper, CC (2008-05-28). "Learning to love History & Rhubarb Custard Pie". Cape Cod Today. eCape, Inc. Retrieved 2008-07-10. "Next, I remember going to Scargo Tower the highest point of land on Cape Cod." 
  3. ^ "Browsing Cape Cod". homeandabroad.com. Retrieved 2008-07-10. "Located on top of the 160-foot (49 m) Scargo Hill in Dennis (the highest point on the Cape)" 
  4. ^ Coogan, Jim; Sheedy, Jack (2001). Cape Cod Voyage: A Journey Through Cape Cod's History and Lore. Dennis, MA: Harvest Home Books. p. 14. ISBN 0-9672596-2-2. "If a person were to inquire where the highest hill on Cape Cod is located, there would be a variety of responses from local residents." 
  5. ^ Schwarzman, Beth; Hogan McDermott, Sandra (2002). The Nature of Cape Cod. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England. p. 206. ISBN 1-58465-107-5. "The moraine ridge continues to the north; about 3 miles (4.8 km) north of here Pine Hill rises to the dizzying height of 306 feet (93 m), the highest elevation on the Cape" 
  6. ^ EPA Superfund Record of Decision Otis Air National Guard Base/Camp Edwards PDF, 2-2.
  7. ^ Nason, Elias (1874). A Gazetteer of the State of Massachusetts. Boston: B.B . Russell. Retrieved 2008-07-10. "Pine Hill in the central, and Bourne's Hill in the north-eastern part of the town, are the most noted elevations" 
  8. ^ "Massachusetts Military Reservation". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2008-07-11.