The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Posts tagged goose rocks

  • Finding Common Ground on Maine's Beaches

    | November 3, 2014

    Drakes Island beach scenceIn 1989, after a few years away, my wife and I moved back to Maine. Just a few months earlier, the Maine Supreme Court had handed down its “Moody Beach decision,” confining public use of privately owned beach property to the colonial era’s permitted uses of “fishing, fowling and navigation.” As someone with a profound love for the Maine coast, I read the court’s decision with great personal and professional interest.

    For most of my career, I have worked to conserve special places in Maine — to protect natural resources and to provide the public with access to the coast. Realizing that 2014 would mark 25 years since “Moody,” I organized a public lecture series so people could better understand and appreciate the legal issues surrounding public access and private ownership of coastal lands.

    This summer and fall the Reserve hosted four evenings that involved all the key players from “Moody” and subsequent court cases dealing with coastal access in Maine. Each time, we filled the auditorium to capacity.

    It was a great experience for all of us. Together we learned that Maine is not an anomaly; other states have access conflicts and must also contend with legal ambiguities over shoreline use and ownership.