The Party’s Over

You won’t find it in Guinness, but I believe I hold a record of sorts: I grew up in Galveston, two blocks from the Gulf of Mexico, and managed to go seven years−from the fifth grade through high school−without once setting foot on the beach. So maybe I’m the wrong person to be pointing out that what others have called Texas’ finest recreational resource may not be around much longer. Still, a lot of people seem to like it, and it seems a shame that they’ll have to find some place else to go.

Like taxation without representation and the divine right of kings, the problem dates back to mercantile England. The early common law decreed that private property bordering on the sea extended right down to the waterline, including the beach. This rule of law was harmless enough in an age when leisure time was scarce and the beach was used mostly by fishermen drying their nets. But it has unfortunately survived to haunt us in this current era of land developers and subdivisions and condominiums. Despite how

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