2012-08-30 / Letters to the Editor

Vigilance necessary on waterfront access

The Jamestown Press recently reported that the town’s public right-of-way at Hull Cove had been damaged by unknown individuals.

Brush was cleared to widen the trail to the waterfront without the required permit from the Coastal Resources Management Council. At the head of the trail off of Beavertail Road, the town’s bollards were removed and a massive, padlocked iron gate was installed.

It is alarming that someone altered a townmaintained waterfront public right-of-way without permission. The Hull Cove waterfront access has a historic legacy. More than 110 years ago the owners of the fishing cabana lots at Hull Cove granted the town public access to use the private right-of-way as a route to reach the Hull Cove beach. In essence, the right-of-way was abandoned through nonuse by the local residents and the town of Jamestown has maintained the area ever since. The town established a parking lot at the trail head and has installed a portable toilet for public use. Over the years thousands of people have used the trail to reach Hull Cove, a popular spot with the surfing crowd.

The CRMC lists the Hull Cove access as one of Jamestown’s 14 waterfront public right-of-ways. Maintenance of these right-of-ways by the town is important to keeping waterfront access available to the public. There have been cases where property owners have attempted to block the right-of-ways to keep the public away from the waterfront. In those instances the town has had to re-establish its right-ofway.

The Hull Cove incident is another case where the town should return the trail to its former state.

Another waterfront right-of-way that remains threatened is located at the end of High Street. The town won a court battle over its rights of waterfront access several years ago but has yet to make the trail accessible to the public.

The town should make every effort to keep these valuable waterfront access points open and available to the public.

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