Who owns Florida’s beaches? Private landowner rights can clash with public beach access

Posted In News

Photograph: © SAF – Coastal Care


In a State known for plenty of beautiful shores, the clash over who owns Florida’s beaches pits residents against tourist for access to the sand…

Read Full Article, Naples Daily News (11-16-2017)

Shifting Sands, Shifted Rights: The Beach as Contested Space; UF Law (01-28-2016)
Determining rights to Florida’s sandy beaches has presented a thorny set of issues. But for many years, the public and private interests have co-existed. Now, along with population growth, sea level rise and relentless erosion have become an uncomfortable reality. The infinite variety of scenarios that sea level rise is presenting and will present along the coast will challenge our legal system in many ways…

A Judicial Affirmation of the Public’s Common Law Right to Use All of North Carolina’s Dry-sand Beaches, Legal Tides (02-10-2016)
In Nies v. Town of Emerald Isle, Nov. 17, 2015, the North Carolina Court of Appeals unqualifiedly held that the “ocean beaches of North Carolina … are subject to public trust rights.” This case means is that all the dry-sand beaches, whether natural or nourished, are open to public use for purposes related to the enjoyment of the State’s ocean waters and shorelines. Private oceanfront landowners cannot exclude the public from any portion of the dry-sand beach even if the private landowner’s legal title includes the dry- sand beach. Until the Court’s decision in the Nies case, no North Carolina court opinion directly addressed the question of whether all dry-sand beaches of the State were, in fact, open to public use…

50 years ago, Oregon’s beach battle kept sands open to everyone; Oregon News Live (05-10-2017)

Drawing a Line In The Sand In Malibu, CA, CNN (09-06-2015)
As it nears its 40th year, the California Coastal Commission is stepping up its efforts to make California’s coastline accessible to everyone, not just those who can afford to hoard the view. In theory, a person could walk along the water for the length of California, from the Oregon state line to the Mexican border, without setting foot on private property…

Reuters’ Water’s Edge Report Part I & Part II (09-19-2014)
Despite laws intended to curb development where rising seas pose the greatest threat, Reuters finds that government is happy to help the nation indulge in its passion for beachfront living…

Disappearing beaches: a line in the sand; ABC News (06-07-2016)
The forces chewing away at the nation’s beaches are only getting worse as climate change fuels rising seas…

Column: The future of Florida’s beaches and the public’s right to know; Op Ed. by Orrin Pilkey (12-07-2015)

Column: High-rises spell the end for Florida beaches; By Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper; Tampa Bay (07-25-2017)
Floridians are becoming more attuned to sea level rise and more familiar with nuisance flooding related to the rising sea. However, we believe there is less recognition that by century’s end it is likely that most of Florida’s major beaches will be permanently gone…

South Florida, Out of Beach, Wants to Buy Sand from the Bahamas; Slate (11-02-2017)

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