What if someone told you that you couldn’t walk across the beach to go surfing? For the average watermen, something like this sounds like crazy talk. The ocean means so much to us and the beaches and public spaces adjacent to the water are our gateways to it. But the truth is this brand of crazy talk seems to be happening all over. At the town, city, and even the state level, there are an insufficient number of public beach access points – and the existing ones are being threatened every single day by various sources of external pressure. From regulated and restricted access hours, locked gates, development, and even economic barriers, the public’s ability to access the beaches and oceans are being severely limited.
Access to waterways and beaches should be a fundamental and universal right for all members of the public. All members of the public should be able to enjoy low-impact and responsible access to these areas. We love these places and they are being taken away even though the right of the public to access these places are guaranteed by public trust doctrine and customary use.