Say Goodbye to Texas Beaches: The End is Near
Oh, Texas, the land of the free and the home of the brave... unless you want to go to the beach, that is.
Thanks to the 1959 Texas Open Beaches Act, and a long-standing tradition, Texas beaches have always been open to the public.
But, alas, nothing gold can stay, and now, according to the three former Texas Land Commissioners who wrote this article, public access to the beach is in jeopardy.
Free beach access to all
Enter Senate Bill 434, the brainchild of Sen. Mayes Middleton of Galveston, which seeks to strip the Texas General Land Office of the power to define the boundaries of the public beach. Instead, the upland beachfront property owner will be given that authority. And what do you think they'll do with that power? Give free beach access to all? Ha! Fat chance.
No, instead, they'll deny the public access easement that's been in place since before 1959, and limit beachgoers to only the “wet beach” – the area between the low tide and high tide lines. Oh, and during high tide, there won't even be a beach to access. Fun, right? So, on your next beach trip, be sure to bring your lawyer with you. You know, in case you have to sue your adjacent upland landowner for the right to access the beach. And don't forget to drag your kids, cooler, and beach gear through shallow tidal waters to get to the beach – because that's what a fun day at the beach is all about.
Who's going to clean up?
And if that's not enough to make you feel better, consider this – SB 434 not only hurts beachgoers, but it also hurts beachfront property owners. Without public access, there will be no beach renourishment projects, no beach cleanup, and no beach maintenance. So, enjoy that eroding beachfront property.
Sorry 'bout your bad luck
Oh, and by the way, there's a beach renourishment project at Jamaica Beach on Galveston Island that will be canceled if SB 434 passes. But, who needs a beautiful, well-maintained beach anyway, right?