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NJ Public Access Rights

BeachwoodThe public’s right to access tidal waters and their shorelines is a concept that existed prior to the inception of the State of New Jersey and continues to this day.  Public access is a right expressed in the Public Trust Doctrine, in the many court cases that have interpreted and implemented its strictures, and implicitly in the many legislative acts and regulatory provisions that have sought to protect and enhance access. 

Beach Access Public Access
N.J.A.C. 7:7-7.6 (a) 3
Public access to the beach shall be provided in accordance with the lands and waters subject to public trust rights rule, N.J.A.C. 7:7E-3.50, and the public [trust rights] access rule, N.J.A.C. 7:7E-8.11.

N.J.A.C. 7:7-7E- 3.50 Lands and waters subject to public trust rights
(a) Lands and waters subject to public trust rights are tidal waterways and their shores, including both lands now or formerly below the mean high water line, and shores above the mean high water line. Tidal waterways and their shores are subject to the Public Trust Doctrine and are held in trust by the State for the benefit of all the people, allowing the public to fully enjoy these lands and waters for a variety of public uses. Public trust rights include public access which is the ability of the public to pass physically and visually to, from and along the ocean shore and other waterfronts subject to public trust rights and to use these lands and waters for activities such as navigation, fishing and recreational activities including, but not limited to, swimming, sunbathing, surfing, sport diving, bird watching, walking, and boating. Public trust rights also include the right to perpendicular and linear access.

(b) Except for the Hudson River waterfront area, public access to lands and
waters subject to public trust rights shall be provided in accordance with the public access rule, N.J.A.C. 7:7E-8.11. Public access to lands and waters subject to public trust rights in the Hudson River waterfront area shall be provided in accordance with the Hudson River waterfront area rule, N.J.A.C. 7:7E-3.48. Development that does not comply with N.J.A.C. 7:7E-8.11, public access, or with N.J.A.C. 7:7E-3.48 in the Hudson River waterfront area, is discouraged in lands and waters subject to public trust rights.

(c) Rationale: See the note at the beginning of this Chapter.

 

 

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Last Updated: March 21, 2014