Sheriff in Florida Panhandle laments confusion from new beach law

WMNF News: Beach dunes
Dunes on Sand Key along the Gulf of Mexico. By Seán Kinane/WMNF News, Sept. 2009

Update: Since this story aired, the News Service of Florida is reporting that, ‘Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order Thursday to block state agencies from taking action on a bill he signed into law earlier this year that critics of the measure warned from the outset could limit the public’s access to beaches. Scott’s order imposes a moratorium on any new state regulation that could inhibit public beach access and urges local government officials to take similar steps. “Unfortunately, the legislation has now created considerable confusion and some have even interpreted it as restricting beach access,” Scott, a Republican who is trying to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in November, said in a press release announcing the order.’

The WMNF News story appears below as originally aired on 11 July 2018:

A new law took effect this month in Florida that some people say will cause Floridians to lose access to beaches across the state as they become private property; but that’s not exactly how it works. Beaches that are owned by governments – cities, counties or the state – are always public. And often, owners of beachfront property own part of the beach as their private property. But the public typically has access to areas of the beach that have historically been used. To find out more about how the new law is affecting beach-goers, I spoke with Walton County Sheriff Michael Adkinson Jr., whose officers were videotaped talking to two women who were asked to leave a part of a Florida Panhandle beach that’s private property.

Adkinson says he’s also frustrated by the way the different ways the state attorney’s office has said how the sheriff should enforce the new beach law.

Listen to part 1:

Listen to part 2:

Read previous WMNF News coverage here.

Here’s a FAQ from Florida Surfrider.


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