Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Vote Yes On Texas Proposition 9—Keep Texas Beaches Open To All

It might be hard to imagine given the popular and often correct notion of Texas as place where the little guy gets sand kicked in his face, but all Texas beaches are open to the public.

The law in Texas says that people can come and set up shop with a beach towel and a good book all the up the point where  the sand ends and vegetation begins.

It does not matter who owns the land behind the vegetation line–All Texas beaches are open to the public.

On the Texas ballot next week is a measure that would make this law part of our state constitution. This is proposition 9 on the ballot.

Here is a Houston Chronicle story on this issue.

This blog urges a yes vote on Proposition 9. Let’s make sure that Texas beaches remain open to all folks and that this farsighted policy of beach access never changes.

A good book on Texas beaches and the Texas coast is The Formation and Future of the Upper Texas Coast by John B. Anderson. I have this book at home and can vouch for it being worth your time.

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October 27, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I’m a kayaker who has been wanting to visit some off-the-beaten track beaches, including San Jose Island. However, I’ve read trip reports that San Jose is a completely private island and working ranch and that the public is not allowed by way of private enforcement. The language of Prop 9 makes it sound like a public beach is only public if there is a means of well-defined public access (private roads and water access doesn’t count). It would seem to indicate that some beaches in fact **do not** fall under the definition of being public.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong. And I do hope I’m wrong.

    According to Ballotopedia:

    “Prop 9 amends Article 1 of the Texas Constitution by adding a new Section 33 which will say:

    ‘In this section, “public beach” means a state-owned beach bordering on the seaward shore of the Gulf of Mexico, extending from mean low tide to the landward boundary of state-owned submerged land, and any larger area extending from the line of mean low tide to the line of vegetation bordering on the Gulf of Mexico to which the public has acquired a right of use or easement to or over the area by prescription or dedication or has established and retained a right by virtue of continuous right in the public under Texas common law.
    (b) The public, individually and collectively, has an unrestricted right to use and a right of ingress to and egress from a public beach. The right granted by this subsection is dedicated as a permanent easement in favor of the public.
    (c) The legislature may enact laws to protect the right of the public to access and use a public beach and to protect the public beach easement from interference and encroachments.
    (d) This section does not create a private right of enforcement.'”

    Comment by William | November 4, 2009


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