Tag Archives: Public trust doctrine

Legal questions abound for beach walking, driving

It has been seven months since I launched an informal poll that asks whether people should be allowed to walk across privately owned tidelands as a basic right reserved to the public. The number of respondents has reached nearly 500, and Iā€™d say it is time to retire the poll.

Last July, when I examined the legal implications of the Public Trust Doctrine for a story in the Kitsap Sun, the issue generated 91 lively comments on all sides of the issue. (See the bottom of the story.) Subsequently, I discussed the questions further in Water Ways on July 8, when I launched the poll.

As responses have grown, the percentage of people in each camp has remained nearly the same. In the final count, 62 percent of respondents (301 votes) said the public should be allowed to walk across private tidelands below the high-tide mark.

The remainder was split almost equally between those who believed the public has no right to walk across private tidelands (93 votes) and those who believe the courts should strike a balance, perhaps by allowing people to walk on a lower section of beach when the tide is out (92 votes).
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