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Old 04-27-2009, 02:39 AM
Location: OUTTA SIGHT!
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How many can you name?

Open Beach Laws ensure that the beaches remain open and free to the public.
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Old 04-27-2009, 03:27 AM
Location: Southwest Washington
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I believe only Oregon and Hawaii.
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Old 04-27-2009, 05:14 AM
Location: Near Devil's Pond, Georgia
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I was thinking that Florida law says the beach between the ocean and the normal high tide level or something like that(maybe the dunes) is not privately owned, i.e., it is public property...now it is another matter as to how one gains access to that beach from the land. You either acquire permission from private landholders or you create public access points. The issue really came up when hotels and such would attempt to build fences to the waterline to block access to "their" beach from adjoining beach areas or would cite people for trespassing if they landed a watercraft, surfboard, innertube, etc. on "their" beach. In the same spirit, Florida claimed as public property, and therefore subject to regulation, all navigable waterways within the borders of the state. The problem is they declared so much water surface area as navigable, even that which was isolated from actual navigation routes. This was done in large part to cut down on squatter camps, houseboats, polution from unregulated dumping, structures that were a hazard to real navigation, etc. It was just a much an attempt to control access by the unwashed masses to tourist areas and exclusive residential areas as it was anything else. The same declaration also affected semi-permanent fish camps, docks, and piers in many areas...before it had been very difficult to enforce any sort of building regulations in these areas even in the name of public safely or environmental regulation.
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Old 04-27-2009, 09:09 AM
Location: Somerville, MA
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In Massachusetts a beach can be privatized to the LOW tide mark (meaning that the public area is never above water). This is different than most states (only Maine has the same law and it was made when Maine was still part of Massachusetts) because most places allow private ownership only to the HIGH tide mark (like Florida).

I believe that there is a clause that says the public may traverse a private beach only BETWEEN the high and low tide marks as long as they have a destination that isn't on the privately owned section.

I used to guard at a private oceanfront beach in MA that was sandwiched between two public beaches. Patrons were vary particular about people from the public beaches walking through our beach so we had to investigate policy. It turns out that even though we owned down to the water's edge, even at low tide, we had to allow people to pass through the dry area between the high tide mark and low water mark.

If we DIDN'T have to allow people to pass it would have been ridiculous. We allowed people to pass at high tide (above the mark) anyway because I can't imagine turning people back. Money can buy a soft spot on the sand, but it shouldn't keep the people who can't afford it from using the water.

The beach I worked at had been in continuous operation since the 1800s so it was grandfathered through a lot of the laws. The dunes on the property are privately owned-- something which is now illegal.
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