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LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Private beaches and culture shock
I was down on Whidbey over the Labor Day weekend and like all good Alaskans would do, I grabbed a fishing license and a pole and hit the beaches after your bright pinks and silvers.
I got out at the Bush Point boat launch and took my place at the end of the line-up and started casting. A guy who had parked near me soon showed up and told me to get off the beach as I was on private land. I thought he was joking and just wanted my spot so I replied that, “Yeah right, and I suppose there are no fish here today either.” He was silent and then a while later he said, “You think I am kidding man, you are on a private beach, there are signs and get off.”
I laughed and kept fishing. He and another guy left in disgust and soon a guy from down the line said that the guy was not kidding and that I may have been 10 feet over the public private line.
I guess my point in writing this letter is that after you have lived in a place like Alaska most of your life where you can hunt and fish where you please, the concept of private property and very specific land restrictions is hard to get your head around.
Freedom is a treasured thing and I now fully understand why those beaches are private and how they got that way, but the 100-plus-year-old concept of not allowing public access to them below the high water mark is a travesty and an infringement on the general rights of we the people.
I am sure most of you would disagree, but my culture shock problem is I have lived in a land where freedom of movement is the norm for too long perhaps.