Special thanks to Senators Bob Smith and Kip Bateman for sponsoring the Bill and Senator Vin Gopal for co-sponsoring. Jersey Shore Senators Declan O’Scanlon, Robert Singer and Chris Brown also voted in favor!
Like many in our state, our members enjoy our shared coast and tidelands. The protection of tidal waterways and their shores is important to us for a variety of reasons including surfing, swimming and fishing. It is the responsibility of the state, through the Public Trust Doctrine, to hold these lands and waters in trust for the public. Affording them special protection enables the state to provide adequate access to and use of them.
The Legislature’s action to codify the state’s obligations and duties under the Public Trust Doctrine will strengthen efforts to ensure that the public has full access to, and use of, the shoreline, tidal waters and other areas subject to the Public Trust. The bill will also provide authority to address chronic problems limiting public access to tidal waters throughout New Jersey, such as the provision of support facilities necessary to make access meaningful, including parking, restroom facilities, walkover structures and handicapped access. Without the codification of the Public Trust Doctrine, municipalities and private landowners have, and will continue, their attempts to limit parking, close off access points and restrict the public from enjoying beaches and waterfronts which case law dictates they have a right to access.
Thanks to the New Jersey Senate, we are one step closer to passing this Bill! Onto the Assembly!