Many boaters are not familiar with the term Coastal Zone Management (CZM) or what it can do for boating. CZM is a joint federal/state effort to oversee the use of a land corridor adjacent to water. It was created in recognition of the primal human need for water access — almost as strong as an animal’s need for water.
There is an urgent need to demonstrate recreational boating as an endangered entity so CZM will include boaters on the short list of candidates seeking water access. In the last two decades, developers have become increasingly aggressive in taking over coastal zone territory and turning it into high-end living. With attractive water views commanding big dollars, developers are rushing to buy, build and sell vacant land adjacent to the waters edge, without any concern for recreational boating’s need for the same water access.
There is an enormous problem here. Very little land is left for any use other than residential dwelling and developers care nothing about leaving anything for marina infrastructure. Dollars generated from boating are handicapped in competition with developer’s high end dollars. Many lakes are closed to boating due to no available marina or ramp to gain access.
CZM was created to bring about an affirmative action approach that would give all people, property owners and non-owners equal coastal zone rights at the water’s edge. Now the boating community is demanding to be included in that list of those wanting access to the water. CZM is the tooting horn for concerned boaters. CZM can be a godsend to boaters but it cannot be everywhere at once and it needs a push from the boating community. Boaters need to organize a strong advocacy voice that can be heard by legislators and law makers for help . Boating access must be assessed and addressed wherever there are plans for development on brown fields and waters edge.
Let’s all work on keeping boating access alive and well!
F. Ned Dikmen
Publisher, Great Lakes Boating Magazine
Chairman, Great Lakes Boating Federation