Gov. Murphy signs law protecting public beach access

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BARNEGATE LIGHT -

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a law protecting the public's right to reach the beach and other waterways around the state.

The governor signed the bill Friday, which codifies in law the state's public trust doctrine.

The legal concept states that the state's waterways including the ocean, bays and rivers, are common property held in trust by the state for the use of all people.

“New Jersey’s shoreline and coastal communities are some of our state’s greatest treasures,” Murphy said in a statement. “By strengthening the public’s right to access our beaches, we are ensuring that all New Jersey residents and visitors can enjoy our beautiful shore this summer and for generations to come.”

The topic has been at the heart of decades of battles between access advocates and government and private property owners.

The public trust doctrine will also be applied to coastal development and protection.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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