2002-08-10 / Letters

Our Right To Surf

Our Right To Surf

Regarding the beach access issue, neither the Parks commissioner, nor the police, nor Gaska, nor Bailey, nor Talamo have it right. Just enforce the
laws that exist. Section 123 of the Harbors and Rivers act of 1899 gives the right of unfettered access below the mean high water mark at any time to any American. We may even access private beachfront, below the M.H.W. mark!

This is a Federal law, unchanged for 103 years. This is part of our heritage, our rights as citizens. The Parks Department cannot change it. The precinct cannot change it. Local judges cannot re-interpret this law. Only the U.S. Congress can re-write it.

That means surfers and anglers and beach walkers may surf, fish and stroll at waters edge at any time and do so legally. Furthermore, artificial
impediments to beach access are not permitted and have for over 100 years, time and time again, been ruled illegal.

I moved to Rockaway expressly to be near the sea, my sea, and yours! I too am disgusted with dog droppings on the beach, winos on the beach and loud parties that leave litter on our prized beach. The focus here, however, is wrong.

Note to 100th PCT. and Parks Dept.: Just enforce the real laws, stop making up conflicting rules, and this will become a non-issue.


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