Beach Access and NJ Perfect Together?


Occasionally we we feature stories on the blog from readers of Surfcaster’s Journal Blog. Do we necessary agree with everything we feature from our guests? No, but if we feel like you would  be interested in someone’s else’s view on certain topicS , we will certainly make every effort to feature it here
Today we are featuring story from Jim Hill
Beach Access and NJ Perfect Together?


Recent changes in the guidelines to beach and water access in NJ are being battled over in the NJ courts. Four groups of access advocates are fighting this fight for all of us who use the beaches in NJ. CRABS (citizens rights to access beaches) The American Littoral Society, The Surf rider foundation, and The NYNJ Bay keepers are spearheading this effort. I recently discovered this issue and thought as a surf fisherman what can I do to keep my access open so that I can fish?

Changes to the access in NJ are coming on fast these will allow each individual town/municipality to set their own rules for access. The following are examples of the DEP changes, which could be made by individual towns:

  • Loss of 24/7 access to coastal waters
  •        Loss of 24/7 access wow this is a big deal for us as surf fisherman. Imagine not being able to hit your favorite beach with a black SS needle after dark? Never again being able to see the sun rise on bird play while throwing that big old Big Don Pencil? I can’t imagine not being to eel off of the Manasquan Jetty through the night?
  • Loss of the requirement for 1/4 mile access points
  • Loosing access points to stretches of beach which we now use might just cause issues of trespass onto private property. I can’t imagine areas that are fishy being ignored because of limited access. Guy’s will just cut through private property.
  • Loss of requirement that towns consider parking and other amenities as part of access
  •      As it is now in most of the areas I fish there is restrictive parking between the hours of 9-5 there is only 2 hour parking in season, fortunately there isn’t a lot of fishing going on in the seasonal months for me, but it’s still a pain in June when the big girls are on Bunker pods and your watching the clock to save that $75 ticket. With this it could actually get worse. Imagine no parking on the block at the beach or like in Point Pleasant metered parking 24/7 yearlong.
  • No ties to replenishment funds and public access improvements
  • Wow here’s the kicker towns which will be within their rights to tighten access to their beaches will still be eligible to get public funding to replenish their beaches. WOW they will use NJ tax dollars for their own benefit, and where will the residents whose money is being used be????Not on the beach.
  • Placing access requirement decisions directly in the hands of towns that have historically limited or blocked public access.
  • This last statement is the one, which seals it for me. How many times do we need to be reminded that the fate of our passion is in the hands of folks who couldn’t give a hoot?

I’m sharing this information with you in hopes we as a group can get involved and make our voice heard in regards to this. I know currently the four groups who are fighting this battle are seeking to gain support from groups interested in signing petitions as a group to support this fight.

For more information  on what is currently going on with this check the following links:

On face book you can support this cause by following this link:

You can offer support to the cause by following this link:

The DEP’s rule proposal will hit the NJ Register on April 4th.  It is pretty much the same as the draft we saw in August.  This will begin a 60 day Public comment period and there will likely be 2 public hearings. This will be the time to stand up and speak out on this issue.

This issue might seem to be something that won’t affect you where you fish, I said that to myself when I lost access to the Delaware river. I thought they will never stop me from getting to the water to fish. Boy was I wrong. I started surf fishing because I figured no one could block access to the beach. Well I was wrong before and with this current action taking place I don’t want to be wrong again.

Dates for the public hearings will be available soon and I will let everyone know.

Keep the beaches, sods, and rocks  open People have been surf fishing recreationally for over 150 years in NJ lets not let that end on our watch.

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11 comments on “Beach Access and NJ Perfect Together?

  1. Jim Hill

    This issue seems to lack attention from the fishing community.It’s funny when the parking meters started running in Pt.Pleasant NJ I heard alot of guy’s complain.When the 2 hour parking limits started in other towns guy’s complained.If this change in the access takes place what good will complaining do?We need to take action now while we can.

  2. Joe Loreti

    Jim, this issue HAS my attention for weeks now. Please let me know of the dates. I will be there for myself, Stripercoast Surfcasters and all surf fishermen

  3. Jason

    This is an issue that frustrates me, as a PA resident. I am unable to attend the majority of meetings and many petitions do not accept my zip code.

    I am actually a bit PO about a thread started on another website about a new board walk and heavy fines for crossing with spikes. If the township knows that this one access point is heavily accessed by fisherman, to the point where they make a rule against it, the township should work with this population of people.

  4. David Strom

    Please keep us informed, maybe share info on how we can comment on the proposed changes?

    I’ve been reading a bit about this in the Newark Star Ledger, online access is via, search for “beach access” to find articles.

    I’m not sure about the 24/7 part, but at least part of that change is for marinas. I don’t have a boat any more, but can you imagine what a pain for a marina to have to provide public access 24/7 might be? Security, lighting, safety vs. lawsuits. From an article on 4/3:

    “The new rules would change a requirement for marinas operators to provide round-the-clock access to the public, which prompted them to complain about potential safety issues. The proposed rules would require marinas to provide “reasonable” access during hours of operation.”

    Article here:


  5. Pierre

    One should always be authorized to wade under the high tide mark like it is in France! Last time i checked the sea was not private…the 1789 revolution brought down privileges from lords and aristocrathy giving fishermen the freedom to harvest common resources.

    Funny to always see that history always repeats itself…

  6. Jim Hill

    Pierre funny you should mention history,The Public Trust dates way back to the ancient laws of the Roman Emperor Justinian who ruled from 527 to 565 AD,held that the seashore not appropriated for private use was open to all. This principle became the law in England as well. In the Magna Carta in England centuries later public rights were further strengthened at the insistence of the nobles that fishing weirs which obstructed free navigation be removed from rivers.
    It seems throughout history leaders have seen the need to keep beaches open.Why must NJ be the backward staet when it comes to this issue?

  7. Tyson

    Sounds like CT and NY, which is a bad thing. I’ve written to the Governor or NJ about my concerns that for the simple fact each township will put up restrictions.


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