The ongoing issue of public beach access, particularly focusing on instances where wealthy individuals have sought to limit public access to beaches near their private properties. It highlights past cases involving figures like Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Nixon, and also discusses the work of the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to preserve public beach access and protect coastal environments.
- Wealthy individuals, like tech billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and even past presidents like Richard Nixon, have previously sought to limit public access to beaches near their properties, sometimes causing backlash.
- The public legally owns the beach in many states, meaning that in most places, everything below the mean high tide line is public property.
- Coastal landowners in the U.S. have often tried to redraw the boundaries of their properties, sometimes resulting in public beach access being blocked. In some cases, this has led to legal battles and victories for public access.
- The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit organization that works to protect coasts across the U.S. and ensure public access to beaches. They conduct activities like organizing beach cleanups and legally contesting attempts to limit public access.
- Despite the legal protections for public beach access, various threats to such access persist. These include physical blockades, misleading signage, restricted parking, and even the impact of climate change on beach width due to sea-level rise.