Welcome to the Jersey Shore… can you leave now?
New Jersey is famous for many things... few of which I'll talk about here.
I've lived in the Garden State twice and the first thing that comes to mind is Bruce Springsteen and the second is beach badges.
Beach badges are New Jersey's not-too-subtle way of taking open spaces and ocean access away from the public. Keep in mind the public has enjoyed access to such places since the Roman Empire.
New Jersey takes beach access from the public and sells it to the highest bidder, all in the name of paying for lifeguards and trash collection.
The stories one hears about in New Jersey are different than pretty much anywhere else in the civilized world.
Twenty years ago, a 15 year old boy heads down to beach. The boy walks across sand to go surfing. The boy is handcuffed and taken away. We are lucky to call him a Chapter Chair today.
This is a seemingly simple event. It's the summer so you send your child down to the ocean to keep out of trouble. Not so fast in New Jersey. Don't think of stepping on the sand without a beach badge.
Beach badges go for $5 - $10 per day (per person). "Season passes" are available in Deal for $125 and oh.... of course there are Senior discounts to be had. Complete fee structure by town can be found here.
If the idea of paying $5 a person to enjoy a day on the sand isn't enough, New Jersey's current aspirations are to give more power to the towns who are the ones limiting access.
The message is crystal clear in a few towns.
If you don't live here. Please leave.
Surfrider believes beach access should be available to all people. Beach access is for people with lots of money and for people with very little money. Beach access is for locals and non-locals. Our policy on beach access is here. Our 12 current beach access campaigns and recent victories are here.
We look forward to supporting local Surfrider activists who are fighting this issue in New Jersey.