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An island off the Cape Cod coast is open to the public for the first time in 300 years.

In pic : Sipson Island Trust

Sipson Island has been a private property since 1711, when it was sold to White settlers by the Monomoyick people. Now, with the aid of a local non-profit, the newly minted Sipson Island Trust aims to preserve and care for the island, leveraging the Native American meaning to see land as a gift for all to use.

The 24-acre island, which opened on Saturday, is situated just off Cape Cod 's coast in an area known as the Pleasant Bay — an area of serious concern for the environment.

Throughout the Pleasant Bay area, visitors can enjoy hiking, sandy beaches, snorkeling and 360-degree views.

The issue here was the cost. It had been a hefty price for a non-profit at $12 million. The company The Friends of Friendly Bay finally helped collect the money and stretch the closing date to make it possible in the last four years. The private trust established for $5.3 million to manage the island closed on the property in June.

Now that it is completely accessible to the public, tourists are welcomed from the East Shore to enter the island. Nonetheless, due to the fragile environment in the water only shallow draft boats under 22 feet can land.

The five-year plan is to rip down three of the island 's existing four buildings to construct and develop an open-air science and educational centre. The aim is to preserve the island's ecosystem, support and work on ecological and historical education, and provide for public leisure in and around Sipson.

There are still eight acres on the property that aren't under the name of the trust, and they intend to collect the funds quickly to get the whole island under the protection of the trust.

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