Walton County residents walk the beach, supporting customary land use

Published: Jul. 1, 2018 at 8:47 PM CDT
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Some Walton County residents are hoping to raise awareness and support customary land use throughout the county by standing for their sand.

After a new state bill, that went into effect Sunday, reversed Walton County's customary land use law, many locals worry some of their public beach access rights could be taken away.

That's why dozens joined Dave Rauschkolb, who organized the Stand Your Sand event, to walk the beach and make a difference, one step at a time.

"The overall goal of this is to raise awareness about the fact that many beaches are about to be privatized in Walton County and I really think this is a travesty and I really believe we have to do everything we can to come together to ensure public beaches, public access, and public use," Rauschkolb said.

"Our family has been coming here since before I was born and at six weeks old, I was down here on this public beach and for years and years we've been continually using it as well as everyone else and we want to make sure that all the grand-kids that are alive now, their grand-kids can enjoy it as well," Walton County resident Emily Ellis said.

"We should not let anyone tell us we can't go on the beach where we want to go on the beach. I've lived here over 50 years and I truly believe that," Walton County resident Kelly Turner said.

"I believe that everyone should have access to our coastlines, always," Walton County resident Denise Song said.

Legal action is also being taken by the county in hopes to keep the beaches without boundaries.

"The notion of privatizing any grain of sand on our beaches is unfair, it's not right and I'm very much hoping that we'll win this in the courts," Rauschkolb said.

St. Johns County and Volusia County have established the public's customary land use.

Those who walked at the event say they hope Walton County follows their lead.