We Demonstrated Our Right to the Public Shoreline. Now What?

Yesterday more than 225 people stood before the private beachfront landowners of Charlestown and South Kingstown and peaceably demonstrated their right to use the public shoreline. That right includes sitting on the beach.

Today, July 7, about 15 beachgoers returned to set their towels on the shoreline in front of the contested stretch of sand at the South Kingstown line. We ignored the three large signs that told us we were not allowed to be there. There was no security guard in sight.

Tomorrow, Charlestown’s Town Council VP Deb Carney will introduce an item at the Charlestown Town Council meeting to address the public’s right to the shoreline. She will propose that the council discuss House Bill 7317 from 2006 and House Bill 7317 “with Text Amendments.” These were the shoreline-rights bills that have not yet been acted upon by our state legislators.

The goal is to forward this bill to our legislators for action when the General Assembly reconvenes in January, and, importantly, to obtain the support of the other 38 cities and towns in Rhode Island.