The public trust doctrine generally guarantees the public access to the shoreline, which is held in trust for the public by the state. In Maine, a pre-Revolutionary War ordinance limits the public trust doctrine by granting private landowners rights to the same shoreline areas. Access to the shoreline area is subject to frequent legal battles and court decisions have not cured the conflict between the public's rights and the private landowners' rights. Maine's economy relies heavily on public access to the shoreline. This comment suggests that the public's rights should be protected. First, the public trust doctrine does not violate any part of the Maine State Constitution. Second, the ordinance that grants private landowners rights does not erase the public's rights. Third, public access to the shoreline can be established through land use controls. Land use controls will enable public access without removing the rights of private landowners.
Allison M. Kuhns,
Access for the Future: Improving Maine's Implementation of the Public Trust Doctrine through Municipal Controls to Ensure Coastal Access for Continuing Benefit to Maine's People and Economy,
Ocean & Coastal L.J.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.mainelaw.maine.edu/oclj/vol25/iss2/4