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Melissa K. Scanlan

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Shifting Sands: A Meta-Theory For Public Access And Private Property Along The Coast, Melissa K. Scanlan Mar 2013

Shifting Sands: A Meta-Theory For Public Access And Private Property Along The Coast, Melissa K. Scanlan

Melissa K. Scanlan

Over half the United States population currently lives near a coast. As shorelines are used by more people, developed by private owners, and altered by extreme weather, competition over access to water and beaches will intensify, as will the need for a clearer legal theory capable of accommodating competing private and public interests. One such public interest is to walk along the beach, which seems simple enough. However, beach walking often occurs on this ambulatory shoreline where public rights grounded in the public trust doctrine and private rights grounded in property ownership intersect. To varying degrees, each state has a …