The New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, with a new chairman at the helm, is taking on a long-running dispute over Long Island beach access.
Members of the Long Island Beach Access Group and the New York State Parks - Fishing Advisory Board filled the seats at the parks department commissioner’s meeting at Belmont Lake State Park on Monday and gave opposing views of the trouble between surfers and anglers at beaches across the Island.
Bill Muller, an advisory board member, complained that surfing and fishing were not compatible activities and that fishermen felt they were being pushed off the beach.
Jack Riordan, of Long Island Beach Access Group, said surfers have been made to feel like “second-class citizens,” and that they deserve equal access to the beach.
It was not the first time the groups have approached the parks department for a solution, but Chairman Bryan Erwin said during his first meeting in the position that it would be his “winter project” to fix the problem.
Erwin asked both groups for a concise list of grievances, and the commissioners voted to form a sub-committee to review the issues and how they might be able to address them.