Let’s Lose the Beach Badges – Why Should the Jersey Shore Pay to Enjoy Nature?
Supporting shore towns is important, but there has to be a better way to do this than paying to enjoy nature.
During the summer, there's no better place to be than the beaches at the Jersey Shore. Who doesn't love cooling off in the ocean, or laying out in the sun? But as you know, enjoying most beaches in New Jersey comes with a price - you need to pay for a beach badge in order to have that fun in the sun. And while it's not a hefty fee, and season beach badges exist, it does add up when you throw in other costs (parking, food, games, etc).
You may be wondering why New Jersey charges for the use of public beaches. According to NJ.com, beach badges started out as a method of limiting crowds at first, but then they became a way to pay to run the beaches (think things like maintenance, lifeguards, etc).
I can understand that reasoning, however, I've been to other states that have beautiful public beaches, and don't charge people to use them. Which makes sense in my honest opinion. Why should we have to pay to enjoy nature? Should we start paying for air next?
There has to be a better way to fund beach maintenance in shore towns that rely on badges. The article mentioned that Maryland takes care of this with general funds from the towns. Why can't we practice that here? NJ.com also noted that Wildwood lets the public enjoy beaches for free because of tourism taxes. I think that's doable in other shore towns as well.
Or, my coworker Brad brought up a good point and suggested that the state create one badge that can be used for all beaches in the state. Which makes sense since so many shore towns are in close distance to one another.
After the tough year we've had, finances are tight for many families here at the Jersey Shore. Let's make sure everyone has fair access to something that was meant to be enjoyed for free.