This Is How The Beach Coalition Group Is Trying To Restrict Surf Fishing Access

   This is a long read with a lot of needed information.  If you haven’t heard, the Beach Coalition group, now a non profit organization, wants restricted access in front of their homes for surf fishing vehicles.  In a public state park on a multi use beach area.  We all know by allowing this the public will have to walk a very long distance to even use those areas.  Essentially creating a private beach for these communities.  


fenwick island state park, restricted beach access, delaware, sussex county, save out beach access, orv access,
Proposed areas to be restricted against surf fishing vehicles in Fenwick Island State Park. We would not even be allowed to drive across these areas to access the areas in between. The black areas even though not restricted to vehicles would be unaccessable due to not being allowed to drive across the restricted area. Essentially this becomes a private beach within Fenwick Island State Park.

Under the guise of public safety and increased tourism is their argument why this should happen.  The documents below show just how transparent their request is and their letter to the Audubon Society, Surfrider Foundation and I have heard Sierra Club.  They are trying to get these environmental groups to side with them on this issue.  The Center For The Inland Bays is not siding with them to take your access either, though in their (BC Group) email it appears that they are working together, they are not.    

   The Beach Coalition is now a non profit that people can join right now for $100.  Last year their website stated it was $50 to be a member and $1,000 to be a board member.  If you don’t think throwing money at something works, this is a great example of people with money, willing to spend whatever it takes to get what they want.  They are nearly out of funds too by the way.  

The surf fishing community is 17,000 tags strong.  The state of Delaware is over 800,000 citizens strong, this is our land that we pay for with income taxes and fees.  The pictures they have published are taken during the holiday weekends.  It is very misleading.  Many of you know we try to avoid fishing near bathers anyway.  In the regular summer days most trucks try to avoid that area unless it is very crowded.  
I leave it to you to decide on your own how all of this will play out and how to react.  Write your state reps, and be nice and consistent in your opinions.  Going of half-cocked and willy nilly, that does nothing but waste time. 

Also keep in mind Thursdays meeting is about limiting tag numbers and raising fees, it has nothing to do with the Beach Coalition’s demands, but they will be there asking anyway.  


The BC groups email to these other groups .. 

Subject: Letters needed to Parks and Recreation Council – Please forward to owners

Partly in response to efforts of the Beach Access Coalition, on January 17, 2019 there will be a meeting of the Parks and Recreation Council to address recommendations by the Director of Parks, Ray Bivens (Meeting Announcement Attached). Director Bivens is attempting to reduce the number of surf fishing trucks on Delaware Park Beaches and increase of the fee required to purchase a license to drive on the beach in support of surf fishing. The meeting is open to the public and written comments are welcome.


Discussions with Director Bivens have confirmed that comments are welcome that provide other options as well as limiting the number of licenses and increase of fees for surf driving permits. In 2017, the Department issued 17,104 permits and the proposal is to limit the number of licenses issued to 17,000. The fee for a Delaware resident would be $90 per year and $180 for non-residents.

The Parks and Recreation Council consists of 11 members and their approval is required for any increase in fees.

This public meeting and its comment procedure offer an excellent way to educate an important advisory body about the need to separate truck surf fishers and those who desire to use the beach for traditional swimming purposes. Email comments may be address to the Parks and Recreation Council, in care of Director Ray Bivens at: and posted on the website mentioned in the Meeting Announcement Please blind copy me on your email so that I may keep track of the comments;

Although each person is completely free to craft their own email comment, possible discussion points are attached.

The Delaware Beach Access Coalition is nearly out of funds. If you desire a continued effort to assure a quality beach experience in your communities, please join (individual membership-$100 or donate any amount to the Coalition. A membership/donation form is attached.

Charles W. Turnbaugh, President, Delaware Beach Access Coalition, Inc.


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Sunday evening, I emailed many state representatives, the governor, secretary of DNREC and the state parks director to give them a heads up this group is coming to Thursdays meeting to ask for their demands.   

Good Evening Everyone,  
I hope you had a great new year.

This was sent to me yesterday. This is the Beach Coalition trying to get Surfrider Foundation, Audubon Society, and I hear possibly the Sierra Club involved in their fight for beach access. I call it private beach access.

The amount of time and money they are putting into this probably exceeds what they are paying for access. They have a lawyer and lobbyist as you are aware.

I am informing the public of this group and what they are going to do for their own access. The citizens of Delaware have a right to know this is being proposed to their property, Delaware State parks. In my opinion if they are given this restricted access area for surf fishing vehicles …

1. They will essentially have their own private beach. No one is going to walk over a mile to get to these beaches from the bath house parking lot. There aren’t any facilities or parking near these communities.

2. The BC group is asking the surf anglers be charged more money for limited access in the park. They seem to think that increase will pay for more enforcement.  Surf fishermen have over populated the surf fishing beaches, according to them. These are and always have been surf fishing beaches for driving on. They are also multi use beaches and to be shared by all, not just one group. That being said, everyone has the right to use that area, not just the residents of these communities, their guests, and renters. Rent being the key word. This is about money.

3. The public cannot access the BC group’s walk on accesses, yet they are supposed to be open to the public. In a gated community? How is that even possible?

3. This will set a precedent for other communities to ask for the same restrictions. The condos in front of 3Rs being one of those areas. They are just waiting to see how this is handled.

The BC group have falsely represented the area as being secluded beaches in their advertising listings. Two years ago that picture in their flyer wasn’t even a Delaware beach. Renters constantly tell vehicles/drivers they can’t park there and are told that is the rule. I have been told this many times by other surf anglers.

This needs to stop. Ever year the BC turns up the heat on parks/DNREC to get this restricted access passed. I would suggest the State of Delaware create legislation that doesn’t allow any group to acquire access to Delaware state lands/assets over other citizens or groups. These are our lands, we have the right to use them. We pay for that right with income taxes and park use fees.

when I pay $325 for a surf fishing tournament special use permit I can not usurp the entire beach, I have to share it with park users and visitors. There isn’t a way to shut down a beach for a tournament I have asked in the past. Point being if I can not pay the parks and shut down the beach to any other users. How can parks allow this special group of users exclusive access. If the general public can not access that area, then it literally becomes a private beach. As I pointed out above, a family or individual is not going to walk over a mile to use that section of beach.

Thank you for your time,

Rich King
Delaware Surf Fishing LLC and citizen of the state of Delaware 

The responses have been very positive from our representatives and administration.   

Below are the documents emailed to  these organizations as far as how the BC group plans on making this happen.


The talking points they plan for public comment and the meeting Thursday.   

Beach Coalition Talking points for public comment to state parks


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