Beach Access, Legal
March 12 2015

Environmental Law Conference Panel focuses on Beach Access

by Gus Gates, Washington Policy Manager

The right of beach access is constantly being challenged by private property owners, developers, and sea level rise with the expansion of shoreline hardening structures.

We at the Surfrider Foundation promote the right of low-impact, free and open access to the world's waves and beaches for all people. Beaches are one of our most popular public resources. Because individuals need access to beaches in order to enjoy them, we act to protect their right of access.

In Eugene, Ore., this past weekend, Surfrider staff, volunteers, and activists organized and participated in a panel on beach access at the 33rd Annual University of Oregon Public Interest Environmental Law Conference.

Our panel focused on describing beach access laws and how they vary from coast to coast and state-by-state. Additionally, panelists touched on the importance of the public trust doctrine, common law prescriptive easements and local coastal laws in providing beach access to citizens.

Panelists included:

  • Angela Howe, Esq., Surfrider Foundation Legal Director (See her presentation, here)
  • Marc Chytilo, Surfrider Legal Issues Committee member and attorney at the Law Offices of Marc Chytilo in Santa Barbara, Calif.
  • Steve Shipsey, Surfrider Legal Issues Committee member, and Senior Assistant Attorney General at the Oregon Department of Justice

Marc and Steve are previous Chairmen of the Surfrider Foundation’s Global Board of Directors.

To say that this panel included the Surfrider Foundation's sharpest legal experts on beach access is an understatement.

Learn more and get involved in our work on beach access here