Public Access

by George Browne
(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association February 2021 Newsletter)

Considering how quiet the beaches are this time of year, there is not much to report on public access. Of course, that does not mean there are not issues, just that there are not a lot of people looking to use the beach. With that said there are two issues to report on.

In Point Pleasant Beach there are three or four closed access points from the boardwalk to the beach. Some work was done in the area late last year and the access points have not been reopened. Point Pleasant Beach and at least one local beach owner (most of PPB’s ocean beaches are privately owned) are involved in a lawsuit. My suspicion is that re-opening those public access points is collateral damage from the lawsuit. I will be checking with DEP to see if any of the beaches with the closed access points received beach renourishment money and if we can get them reopened. I will let everyone know what I find out.

The town of Spring Lake made the news in the last week with their 2021 season beach badge sales. While this does not directly affect anglers, it is a classic example of the games beach towns will play to deny public access.

  1. Spring Lake had 5,500 season badges for sale at $110 each for the 2021 season. The town put the badges on sale in December 2020.
  2. The sale of the season badges was only announced in a borough newsletter. That newsletter is mainly read by residents or people who know that the borough newsletter exists.
  3. The 5,500 badges sold out by the end of December. The only remaining badges for 2021 are daily badges that will be sold at $10 per person/day. That means if you want to use the Spring Lake beach with your family of four, you will have to spend $40 a day every time you want to use the beach. And you must go to the train station to buy the day badges.
  4. The town claims that 52% of the badges were sold to non-residents. At first glance it seems that Spring Lake sold most of their season badges to out of towners. I wonder how many of those “non-residents” own second homes in Spring Lake but live elsewhere.
  5. Last spring, during the first phase of the pandemic, Spring Lake banned all on street parking. You could still use the beach, but you had to park out of town and walk in. The town used the pandemic as the reason why they banned on street parking effectively keeping out of towners off the beaches in Spring Lake.

While Spring Lake is “offering” public access (wink, wink, nod, nod), they do not want to encourage you to use it. Other groups are following up on the Spring Lake badge sales and we are not involved, but as I said earlier, it is a good example of the games a town will play to keep the public off their beaches.

On a final note, there is a lot of discussion about the use of inline circle hooks while using natural bait to fish for striped bass. You should read Paul Haertel’s column on “Striped Bass Circle Hook Regulations” and you should comment on the proposals either during the webinar or in writing. I plan on doing so.

[News Contents] [Top]