Majority say land owners should not block access to beaches - 61 participants

May 14, 2014

When one buys a piece of land, it is generally accepted that such an individual is now the sole owner of that particular piece of property. Such logic becomes muddied, however, for landowners whose property blocks access to publicly owned lands—especially if its use has been allowed in the past. In Rye, such a dilemma has reached the Rockingham County Superior Court, which will determine this summer if Wentworth by the Sea Country Club can restrict the public's use of Sanders Poynt to access Little Harbor Beach. On May 14, Citizens Count, NH’s Live Free or Die Alliance decided to put the issue to its Facebook members, posting the question, “Should landowners be allowed to block the public from using their land to access public beaches, even if such use has been allowed in the past?”

“Should landowners be allowed to block the public from using their land to access public beaches, even if such use has been allowed in the past?”

Results: Yes or No Respondents

Beach Access NH Citizen Voices Chart

Participation: 61 participants gave 110 responses

A total of 61% of those participating gave a ‘yes or no’ response to the question. The remaining 39% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a ‘yes or no’ response. In total, 61 individuals from New Hampshire contributed a total of 110 responses or reactions to this question. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said:

No: A majority, at 62% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, were opposed to allowing owners to block the public from using their land to access public beaches. 

  • “Historic easements need to be recognized. Or what is the point of them if they will be discarded?”

Yes: The minority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 38%, were in favor of allowing owners to block the public from using their land to access public beaches.  

  • “It’s their land unless the town or state is willing to give them a break on their taxes, or pay them—it is their land.”

Other: As noted above, 39% of those participating did not give a ‘yes or no’ response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:  

  • Several respondents expressed a desire to learn more about the particular easement at issue. 
  • Others cited an easement’s validity as directly proportional to how long it had been in use. 

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

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