Getting to the Beach

Getting to the Beach: Approaches to accessing and enjoying the Maine coast by means other than acquisition, easements, and litigation

Moderator: Paul Dest, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve
This session will explore three field-tested approaches focusing on creative and collaborative ways organizations and individuals have arranged for public use and access to Maine’s privately owned shoreline.

Bob Sherman, Goose Rocks Beach
This talk will cover efforts by the community and the Town of Kennebunkport to develop a Beach Use Agreement for public use of the beach.

Brian Marcaurelle, Maine Island Trail Association
This talk will address arranging access through informal agreements and leases for kayakers/boaters to use privately owned islands.

Daniel Devereaux, Marine Resource Officer, Town of Brunswick
This talk will cover securing access for shellfishing across private property to clam flats.

Process Matters: A time-tested framework for creating a beach-use agreement that works

Ben Leoni, Curtis Thaxter, LLC

Most Mainers recognize the benefits of establishing access to Maine’s coastline. Since Maine’s coastline is predominantly privately-owned, establishing a public right to use private waterfront property can be tricky and has historically been achieved through either some sort of eminent domain, litigation, easement or public access agreement. Establishing access through litigation and eminent domain are costly, divisive, and uncertain methods for creating a public right over private property, as evidenced in multiple beach litigation cases up and down the coast. Now, more and more towns, landowners, and interest groups are creating agreements to secure public access while respecting landowner privacy and concerns. This presentation will look to the lessons of past agreements and set forth a time-tested approach for creating a process that accomplishes the goals of reducing litigation and pulling communities, towns, and landowners together to secure public access to Maine’s valuable coast while respecting the private property rights of landowners.