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May 04, 2019

Gov. Phil Murphy signs New Jersey public beach access legislation into law

The bill establishes the state's shores belong to the public, including for bathing, swimming, and fishing

Legislation Beaches
Carroll - Beach chair at the Jersey Shore Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

A chair on the beach in Margate City New Jersey.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Friday protecting the public’s right to access the Garden State’s beaches and shorefronts.

The legislation officially establishes New Jersey’s waters and shorelines as belonging to the public, according to a release from Murphy’s office, including for bathing, swimming, and fishing.

“New Jersey’s shoreline and coastal communities are some of our state’s greatest treasures,” Murphy said. “By strengthening the public’s right to access our beaches, we are ensuring that all New Jersey residents and visitors can enjoy our beautiful shore this summer and for generations to come.”

The legislation codifies a requirement for the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to protect the public’s right to access the state’s waters.

But some don’t think the bill does enough.

Jeff Tittel, executive director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, told the Associated Press that the bill “does not move public access forward in any meaningful way.”

Complaints from detractors include a lack of regulations requiring public access points along the shore line each quarter mile, and vague language that could allow communities to keep roadblocks to shores intact.

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