The Beach belongs to everyone

We want Long Island to be a place where this, and the next generation can surf, windsurf, sail, swim, sunbathe, fish, kayak or just soak in Long Island's Natural Beauty.

Long Island is losing its waterfront and wet lands to private homes at an alarming pace. Beach Access is disappearing right along with it. In addition, many NYS laws concerning Beach Access are archaic at best.

It is not LIBAG's intent to take away any existing rights of NYS Beach users. Only to add to them.

We are fortunate, to be working with the Long Island Regional State Parks Commission towards solutions that would allow all beach user groups equal access to all NYS Parks Beaches, with out excluding or taking away any access rights from any user groups.

The Long Island Beach Access Group is most commonly known for its four core programs;

1- The Beach Access program whose research and advocacy programs support the maintenance and expansion of access to those remote beach locations on Long Island for all users.

2- Also, our Beach Preservation program works to sponsor, participate and encourage those activities that ensure the healthy maintenance of our beaches and barrier islands, such as beach grass plantings.

3- Our Beach Clean-up program works to sponsor, participate and encourage continual beach clean-ups in conjunction with the America Littoral Society. This includes the adoption of Gilgo Beach.

4- But also, Long Island Beach Access Group is known for our Beach Actions program which seeks to encourage and reward proper behavior when enjoying the beaches. This includes following the official rules and regulations of each of the beaches and areas that provide access to those beaches, promoting the “Carry in, Carry out more” philosophy, and in a more informal fashion, instructing people on safe enjoyment of our natural resources.

Remember: it is not LIBAG's intent to take away any existing rights of NYS Beach users. Only to add to them.

LIBAG is honored to work with New York State Park officials, as we continue to connect the Parks to the People.

We look forward to our continued work with New York State officials in order to implement solutions that encourage more diverse use of NYS’s Beaches.

CONTACT US email me

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Originaly Published in "The Fisherman"

William A. Muller, Ph.D.
183 Oakside Drive
Smithtown, N.Y. 11787

April, 15 2011

Mr. Bryan Erwin, Chairman
Board of Commissioners, L.I. Region
New York State Parks
P.O. Box 247
Babylon, N.Y. 11702

Dear Mr. Erwin;

Last night, April 14, 2011, the Fishing Advisory Board met and I discussed my ongoing concerns about the intense push from the Board of Commissioners to expand the type and amount of access to most, perhaps all, of our Long Island State Parks beaches. I did my best to explain my concerns about recent conversations with Commissioner Dave Bender. He has consistently pushed me to unilaterally support Board access expansion plans. I consistently explained that although I am a member of the FAB and represent a significant numbers of surf fishermen, that other members of the FAB who represent large organizations with thousands of members should hear, in person, about the Board’s intentions. To that end, I invited him to the April FAB meeting to speak with FAB members. He did not attend. Furthermore, I explained carefully that the surf fishing community is against expanding access for a number of activities. I also explained the added difficulties of adding new access to ecologically sensitive parks, such as Caumsett State Park, and to those with high population densities in the western sections of the island.

The FAB understands that the Board of Commissioners has the charge of promoting and advocating for New York State Parks in the Long Island Region. With that concept in mind, FAB members are at a loss to understand why the Board is so intent on expanding access (including still water parks) at a time of fiscal difficulty for Long Island State Parks and when our parks are facing enormous challenges including massive erosion, a vastly reduced Park Police force, and a decaying infrastructure. In this time of crisis we believe that the Board should be using their political influence and their official stature as a Board of Commissioners to secure more funding for our Long Island Parks: for so long jewels in the system, but neglected for decades. It is our opinion that your time and influence would be much better spent securing new governmental and private funding to support our wonderful Long Island State Parks and the dedicated people who run them.
In addition, the FAB has tried to express very real concerns about the non-compatibility of some activities including surfing, wind surfing, kayaks, paddle boards, and sail boarding. There are genuine safety concerns regarding not only beach anglers but also bathers and small boat owners operating in proximity to these proposed new access areas.

We also object to subtle but repeated suggestions that anglers you speak with have no concerns about mixing these activities, and the repeated innuendo that FAB members do not represent mainstream beach anglers. Who are these anglers you speak with? We can’t find them. Perhaps they are casual anglers who seldom fish, or perhaps they are surfers posing as dedicated beach anglers. The thousands of anglers we present, who are members of clubs, organizations, conservation groups, and independents too are universally against expanded access for the non-compatible activities cited supra.
We are also concerned about proposed new access at underdeveloped state parks such as Caumsett. This is a delicately balance ecology with a number of sensitive habitats supporting endangered and declining species. Where could a new parking facility be placed without damaging or risking that ecology? Furthermore, with more people doing more things, where will enforcement come from? Park Police are already stretched beyond the capacity to adequately patrol, protect, and enforce park rules. We are also told there will be NO police academy class in 2011.

Finally, proposed new access will negatively impact the quality of fishing in many locations. Consider Sunken Meadow State Park as an example. Where will access points be established for wind surfers, paddle boards, and sail boarders? Is the intended site in front of the park where people walk, swim, and wade? Perhaps you intend to use the river, then? No, that would be foolish since the river is narrow, shallow, has very fast currents, and often boasts a continuous launching and retrieving of boats. Even without these new activities it is very difficult to navigate in the river. Launching boards, kites, kayaks, and sailboards anywhere at this park would be intrusive on others at best, and unsafe at worst.

Although one can understand a desire to provide reasonable and appropriate access for as many citizens as possible, those two words, reasonable and appropriate, should not be taken lightly. The Board should, it seems to us, begin a dedicated journey to secure a level of funding that properly supports state parks and abandon a pipe dream that would put added fiscal pressure on operations and on an already depleted staff.

Yours truly;

William A. Muller, FAB Founder
William Young, New York Coalition for Recreational Fishing
Barry Schwartz, Montauk Surfcasters Association
Billy Lomnicki, President of L.I.B.B.A.
Fred Golofaro, Long Island Fisherman
Robert Danielson, N.Y. Sportfishing Federation
Mr. Ron Foley, Direction Long Island State Parks Region
Commissioner Dave Bender
Assemblyman   Robert Sweeny
Assemblyman   Joseph Saladino