04 • 01 • 2015
Emerald Coast Beach Access
Beach access problems have long plagued Florida’s Emerald Coast, from some beachfront homeowners roping off the sandy beach in front of their homes, to homeowners associations putting up signs to keep the public off the sand (and thereby creating potential hazards by blocking lateral access and creating visual blight), to even arrest threats for building sandcastles on allegedly “private” beaches. The Emerald Coast Chapter’s Emerald Coast Beach Access Campaign thus aims to protect and defend the public’s rights to access the beach along this gorgeous Gulf coast. The public has a legal right to access and enjoy the beaches of Florida under the public trust doctrine (codified in the Florida Constitution, Article X, Section 11); where the public can establish a right to use due to traditional ancient use, via the common law doctrines of public prescriptive easements or custom; and through easements, express dedications, or implied dedications, among other bases.
The Emerald Coast Beach Access Campaign is currently focused on protecting the public’s rights in two main areas: (1) Support the public’s rights to access and use the beach as they have for generations, under the doctrine of custom; and (2) Ensure that public beach property or the public’s access rights are protected and defended from threats, which may include unsound quiet title actions.
The Chapter continues to monitor beach access issues along the Emerald Coast, and is currently engaging in several issues in Walton County in particular. Please check out the Chapter’s website and Facebook page for more information and ways to engage and support the campaign’s efforts, and these sites will be updated as the Campaign progresses. The Chapter welcomes new members and supporters to join this campaign for public beach access along the Emerald Coast.