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NY State Beach Access - good info...

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Great little article in Newsday today on public access rights on private beaches. Good info to know...

In New York State, the public may walk along underwater lands and the "foreshore" - the stretch of beach subject to the ebb and flow of the tides - of privately owned beaches without penalty.

The principle is outlined in the Public Trust Doctrine, a common-law legal precedent that says states hold legal title to lands under tidewater and to navigable waterways in trust for the public's benefit.


"It's actually an issue that comes up a lot," said Steven Resler, a coastal resource specialist for the Department of State's coastal management program. "Traditionally, the 'seaweed line' has been interpreted as the boundary between private property and public trust lands."

According to the law, when the foreshore is covered by the tides the public may use the water for "boating, bathing, fishing, recreation and other lawful purposes," Resler said. When the tide is out, the public may pass and repass over the foreshore as a means of access to reach the water for these purposes, and may also lounge and recline on foreshore lands.

At Cedar Beach, the Crest Hollow Beach Owners Association owns the "upland" - the stretch of beach above the seaweed line - but the public has the right to "traverse the foreshore," Resler said.

Town spokesman Kevin Molloy said similar privately owned beaches exist in Mastic Beach and Rocky Point.

RS
post #2 of 20
Town of Brookhaven has a problem following the law when it pretains to the public trust doctorine.Shoreram Beach is perfect example of how the town closes down a beach & refuses the public access.
post #3 of 20
There are some issues on the north shore with some laws that run back to colonial times--something called the Donnegan Patents.
post #4 of 20
You can walk along the watermark, however, you cant tresspass to get to it. Most of the locals "owners associations" have purchased and blocked off access to the water.
post #5 of 20
Well to be honest with you DJ the issues are when there is an issue,such as @ Shoreram beach {littering},the town of Brookhaven closes the beach in stead of inforcing the laws.
I don't blame the home owners that live there one bit!!! I wouldn't want to see that mess in my backyard either.
We {brookhaven} have more adequate resoures & funds to properly patrol & police the problem areas.
IMO they don't want to take the monies & use them in these areas because that leaves them with less money for thier own pet projects.
That is how we got the nickname "CROOKHAVEN". We got some of the worst local politicians I ever seen!!!!!!
post #6 of 20
Quote:

You can walk along the watermark, however, you cant tresspass to get to it.

And that's the problem in most cases - unless you own a helicpter.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by JD 57 View Post
Well to be honest with you DJ the issues are when there is an issue,such as @ Shoreram beach {littering},the town of Brookhaven closes the beach in stead of inforcing the laws.
I don't blame the home owners that live there one bit!!! I wouldn't want to see that mess in my backyard either.
We {brookhaven} have more adequate resoures & funds to properly patrol & police the problem areas.
IMO they don't want to take the monies & use them in these areas because that leaves them with less money for thier own pet projects.
That is how we got the nickname "CROOKHAVEN". We got some of the worst local politicians I ever seen!!!!!!


You don't have to convince me---I used to live there
post #8 of 20
You don't need a helicopter. That's one of the reasons that a kayak is so great!

Of course, nobody saw you get there, so you COULD say that you swam!

(If the cop orders you out of the water, a good response would be "I can't do that.")

"Why?"

"Because if I came out of the water, I would be trespassing!"

I have the additional advantage of being deaf in one ear, so I might not even hear him! If he has to call the Marine Patrol, I have proof positive that I was in the water, not on private property!

Ever notice that the folks who live directly on the waterfront rarely fish or have boats?
post #9 of 20
Where is the Donegan patent held on the North Shore?



There is also another clause in the access. If the "upland" property owner blocks access to the ability walk on the state owned waterway, you are allowed to actually trespass onto their property to cross the obstruction. I am not saying you can hop a fence into their yard and make your way down to the beach. If they put a wall up across the MHW mark you can go up to an easier point to get across it.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishinsurf View Post
You can walk along the watermark, however, you cant tresspass to get to it. Most of the locals "owners associations" have purchased and blocked off access to the water.


That's very true in many North Shore spots, but in the case described in Newsday today, the so called "private beach" is fully accessible from the town beach, Cedar Beach. If you have a beach permit allowing you to park, you can just walk from the town beach right past their "private property fence" onto their beach. No trespassing involved.

I fish out there and know of several altercations between the beach cottage owners and fishermen where the owners make it very unpleasant for the fishermen even though they are just standing in the water fishing. No eating, drinking, litter, just fishing.

I'm going to laminate today's Newsday article and carry it in my fishing bag so that if accosted by one of these owners I can prove that they don't have a leg to stand on. Maybe I'll even suggest that they call the police! At that point, I'm sure they'll leave me alone.

Thanks Newsday!
post #11 of 20
I have fished there for years, and I didnt even know it was closed last year and fished it, at night, maybe a half dozen times and never got bothered or ticketed by police. Nobody else was there. Be creative when parking fellas. Wherever you go. There is always ONE spot where you just look like another car on the road.

Now if you have a monster truck with 5 rods and bass stickers all over it you cant fit anywhere, conspicuous. I have thought about sort of a duck blind for my truck but too much work.

JC
post #12 of 20
I've wondered about this when I fish Little Neck Bay. I've mostly been erring on the side of caution. I'll still play it carefully since I don't want to upset the natives. I don't live anywhere near there.
post #13 of 20
I grew up in Rocky Point in an era where there was always public access for Town Residents to the Sound's beaches. It was a known fact that the end of the Landings were public access points, and were as sovergn as the early colonists right for their cattle to feed on the cord grass of the marshes.

The landings became important in the 1800's during the time of cordwood trade to a growing New York City. Flat bottomed schooners would come in at high tide; when the tide went out wagons would scurry out on the sand with loads of cordwood bond for NYC. Actually the entrepenaurian farmers of the day had a triangular trade of sorts; taking cordwood into the city, and returning with horse manure. The manure was often blamed for rampant epidemics among New Yorks new immigrants. Cordwood went to the city, and manure was loaded on for ballast on the return trip. Later when the city converted to coal for central heat, wood was still needed for the brick kilns of New Jersey. The returning ballast was brownstone, that you can still see in the walls of Setauket, Mount Sinai, Port Jefferson and Millers Place.
If you follow the shoreline from Mt. Sinai Harbor to the east, the landings are named for the early colonial families. Woodhull, Miller, Hagerman, Hallock are just a few. These landings were the ramps to the highways of trade with NYC. During the season it was produce, then cordwood for the winters. Brookhavens economy depended on it.

The residents far fewer then of course knew how important the public access to the Sound was for their future. Controling access meant power and money. The hard working families of Northern Brookhaven Town kept true to the doctrine that enabled all citizens to access. It was the law even in the 1960's that the Landings (the roads that access the Sound directly) were for all residents. Something happened in the 1970's and Brookhaven closed of the Landings and gave dominion to the local beach associations.
Barricades and "No Parking" signs went up. Resident access was stopped and basically the town gave public property to a private organization.

I was no longer living in the area when this occured. My mother was affected however. After WWII, my father came back from the Pacific, and he and my mother built in Rocky Point. The Sunday routine would be Mass at St. Anthony's, a stop at Tilda's bake shop for rolls and jelly donuts, and then down to Broadway Beach. It was a sacred place: a place they dated, a place their kids caught their first fish, a place of many sunsets. My now widowed 60ish mother couldn't access the place. She couldn't look down to the rock they would dive off when they were dating. She wasn't allowed to see the sand.

Something stopped for my mother then. She always loved the beach, and that beach in particular. She'll be gone a year on June 14th, but whenever I mentioned going to the beach she'd grab her cane. We all knew where she wanted to be.

Beaches belong to the people, they aren't an extension of someone's living room.

Pete
LIBBA 316
MSA 604



Sorry for the long winded rant.
post #14 of 20
WELL SAID PETE . Brian
post #15 of 20
This one is close to the heart.
Pete
LIBBA 316
MSA 604
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