I think we all have asked the same question each and every year: "Why on earth am I paying to use the beach?" 

Well NJ.com did some digging and it turns out there is one Jersey Shore town that may be to blame for those pesky and rather expensive beach badges.

The town that may be to blame is.... BELMAR!

Now before we dive in, I do have to give Belmar some kudos because they recently switched their beach access rules and will now allow ALL active military members and veterans onto their beaches for free.

There is a bill that will hopefully be passed very soon making it mandatory for all veterans and active military members to be given free beach access in New Jersey and I almost wonder if Belmar kick started this initiative.

But I digress....back to the history lesson.....

Back in 1929....yes, 90 years ago...this was the very first Jersey Shore town that made it mandatory to buy a beach badge before being able to enjoy the beach.

Well it is not surprising that other Jersey Shore towns quickly copied this money-making tactic for beach and boardwalk clean up, maintenance, and lifeguards.

“The rest is history,” said Paul Neshamkin, president of the Bradley Beach Historical Society. “At first it was basically to limit the beach to residents and guests at the various hotels in town. Very quickly they realized it was a revenue-generating method.”

 

“All of the money collected from the beach badge sales may only be utilized for the functioning of the beach,” said Kelly Barrett, borough administrator for Bradley Beach. “It’s very costly to run the beaches.”

Now, the first thought that runs through my mind is: "Is there a way to undo and change this system?"

I'm sure you are not surprised that the answer is: Highly doubtful.

“It’s tough for local government to give up that revenue source unless it can figure out a way to replace it,” said Ben Rose, director of marketing and public relations for the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority.

I'm not gonna lie, I do get it. Jersey Shore towns have been relying upon and using the millions of dollars worth of revenue from the beach passes for public upkeep and other town costs.

Plus, if the money from the beach passes suddenly disappeared, where do you think that money would come from? Yup, us.

So as much as I am dying for free beach access like everyone else, I don't really see an alternative solution.

But hey, I could be wrong.

Check out the original article at NJ.com.

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