Explanation of Indicator
As the population of the state increases and more people look to the coast as an area to build their homes, the beachfront footage available to the public decreases in size and the number of public areas decreases. In an effort to protect public use of b eachfront areas, the state has acquired land through various programs such as Save our Coasts, Preservation 2000, CARL (Conservation and Recreation Lands Program) and Save our Rivers. The state also has an inventory of lands which have been held by the s tate for several years. The beachfront properties owned by the state include street ends, undeveloped lots, public parks, and pedestrian walkways.
The right of the public to use and enjoy the coast must be protected. One of the best ways to protect public use of the coast is to hold beachfront properties under public ownership. If an area is publicly owned, it may be opened for public use and prov ide access to the coast and its resources for the general public. Thus, the total footage of beachfront property owned by the state is a good indication of the ability of the public to access and use the coast.
Information concerning public access points can be obtained from Phil Flood, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Division of Environmental Resource Permitting, Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems, 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3000, or at (904) 487-1262.
The information may be obtained in hard copy for $37.50 (476 pages). Individual county reports may be obtained at no cost by contacting DEP.
The information was collected statewide for only 1993. The data are available for each coastal county.
These data have several limitations. Because the data were collected for only one year, no comparisons can be made to determine whether public access has improved over the years because of additions to publicly owned beachfront properties. At best, the data could be used as a benchmark for future data collection and to give a general idea of how many access points are available to the public.
This research was conducted by Dr. Holland at the University of Florida. A project was funded by the Florida Department of Community Affairs, Florida Coastal Management Program, using funds available through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the Coastal Zone Management Act. Thus, the expertise and methodology necessary to continue the project are available and the project could continue with funding from NOAA. The project included mapping of properties on ARC/INFO and a creation of a database to store and maintain property and facility information.1 It is recommended that the project continue to re ceive funding so that the information may be updated. The frequency of updates should be every five to ten years, since properties generally do not change owners on a yearly basis and the cost of producing the report is too high to justify annual updates. In addition to this information, further data collection should include the number of management units, beach frontage (in feet or miles), acreage, and the publicís ability to access the property.