Beach access is a line in the sand that needs revisiting by Florida lawmakers

A Gulf Coast of Florida community. Photograph courtesy of: © Orrin H. Pilkey and J. Andrew G. Cooper


The beach belongs, by law, to the people of Florida — the part that gets wet, that is. This is because the idea of the seashore as belonging to “the public trust” is grounded in an era before anyone ever considered sunbathing or swimming in the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico.

The state’s prime attraction — 825 miles of Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Intracoastal Waterway sand and surf — is secondary only to its subtropical climate.

However, some 60 percent of Florida’s beaches front private lands, and even renourishment projects funded by taxpayers do not guarantee access to the beach.

As more beaches wash away, individual landowners are unlikely to see this loss as theirs alone…

Read Full Article, the Herald Tribune (01-25-2020)

Does new law restrict public access to Florida’s beaches? Miami Herald (04-06-2018)

Portions of beaches across FL could soon be restricted to public; ABC Action News (03-30-2018)
Beaches across Florida are about to see a major change. Stretches of sand behind condos, hotels and homes, could soon be off limits to the public…

Who owns Florida’s beaches? Private landowner rights can clash with public beach access; Naples Daily News (11-16-2017)
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…

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…

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

‘Sand wars’: the battle to replenish Florida’s beaches amid climate crisis; Guardian UK (10-25-2019)

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. Rob Young, a coastal geologist from the program for the study of developed shorelines at Western Carolina University, said “Coastal communities have to understand that any of the solutions that they’re thinking of to hold the beach in place for a little while are all temporary solutions…”