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Exclusive Coast

In: Social Issues

Submitted By nikkirom21
Words 941
Pages 4
Exclusive Coast Around the world, along our ocean’s coast, there are miles and miles of nature’s beautiful beaches. These alluring shores with sublime weather become prime real estate for those who can afford it. When someone buys the property they expect to own the land that comes with it: so a person that buys a beach house expects that their backyard, the beach, is their private land. However, most people feel that all beaches should be public for tourism and personal satisfaction. That one cannot own “nature.” Despite the many heated debates over this exigence and the many laws that have been passed, individuals should come to the conclusion that the economic and recreational needs of the general public are greater than the needs of a select few. Today in the United States, there is a total of 88,633 miles of shoreline, give or take a few miles (United States 225). The US government census defines shoreline as, “the term used to describe a more detailed measure of the seacoast” (225). They included islands and territories, as well as bays, rivers and lakes in their measurement. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states that, “in 2010, 123.3 million people, or 39 percent of the nation’s population lived in counties directly on the shoreline” (National Ocean Service). They also expect that population to increase by 10 million people by 2020. With so many people in such a small area, it does not make sense for people to be blocking off their land. When one sees the data, it puts into perspective why the government and general public feels so strongly about the topic. It would be unfair to limit the miles of beach to the general public because they could not afford to buy their own ocean property. If home-owners feel so strongly about privacy than maybe they should not have bought property on such densely populated land. In Florida, nearly 60 percent of the beaches are private that provide practically no public access at all (Kranz 12). Erika Kranz is a research assistant for a clerk at the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Enforcement Section. What she stated goes against laws dating back to the Roman era, “that required that the seas and tidal land remain open to all for fishing and navigation. As history tells, in A.D 530, the Roman Emperor Justinian asked his legal scholars to codify the empire’s laws; the resulting Institutes of Justinian included the provision that ‘by the law of nature these things are common to all mankind; the air, running water, the sea and consequently the shores of the sea.’ Thus was born the idea of a public trust seashore” (Kranz 12). In theory, because of the doctrine, every state should be giving the public access to the “wet sand” area of beaches, while private property lies above the mean high tide line. This doesn't mean anything if the public is not given ways to access these wet sand areas and what about when there are high tides and individuals have to move up to the dry land. These laws also protect the beach land from becoming overdeveloped by homeowners and property owners. This debate should not even be an issue because it seems like such a clear cut topic. Nevertheless, beach property owners believe that it is their right to have privacy; they paid for the land so therefore they should be allowed to do whatever they want with it. It is not that simple for homeowners because beach use has been an inherited right for centuries. “A simple way that states may provide coastal access is through the use of eminent domain, a legal proceeding through which the state asserts its authority to condemn property for public use. However, when the government uses eminent domain, it must provide just compensation to the property owner” (Kranz 18). That solution is not very practical, due to how expensive that real estate has gotten and it would be extremely costly for the government. So a feasible solution would have to be for people to stop buying land on the beach so that way it will not be a problem anymore. Since this dilemma cannot seem to come to a compromise, the government should just restrict the beach from being sold as property. It will save tax payers money for the legal costs as well as take away the discord surrounding the topic. With such a limited amount of public beach around the United States, we should be worried about that number slowly dwindling. We will be able to go to a beach and not have to worry about crossing restricted areas or be confined in a certain area. People could help by protesting, so the governments will know it is a topic that is important and that we do care about where we can sunbathe.

Works Cited
Jha, Ritu. "Bill Seeks Public Access to Beach on Billionaire's Properly." India Abroad, 44.21 (2014): A25.
Kranz, Erika. "Sand for the people: the continuing controversy over public access to Florida's beaches." Florida Bar Journal June 2009: 11+. General OneFile. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.
National Ocean Service. National Ocean Service. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 7 Feb 2014. Web. 2 Nov 2014.
Pattison, Patricia, and Donald Sanders. "Life's A Beach: Oceanfront Property Issues." Southern Law Journal 20.1 (2010): 93-113. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson). Web. 3 Nov. 2014.
United States. U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States. Geography and Environment: Table 364. Coastline and Shoreline of the United States by State. 2012. Web. 2 Nov. 2014.

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