Does the public have a right to walk across a private beach? The answer is still unresolved


Even before Washington became a state in 1889, Puget Sound beaches had been exploited as log dumps, farmed for shellfish, occupied as homesites and enjoyed for recreation. But today, after 131 years of statehood, residents of this region still don’t know if they have a legal right to walk across a privately owned beach at low tide. That’s because neither the Washington State Supreme Court nor the Legislature has ever clearly spelled out the limits of the Public Trust Doctrine — an ancient legal principle that provides for common citizens […]