The Town of Scituate recently discovered that they only own about a 300-foot stretch of beach near the public entrance to Humarock on Marshfield Avenue.
According to state law, the public can enjoy the tidelands, which is the area in between the low and high tide marks, along the entire stretch of Humarock Beach. But they can only fish, fowl, or walk in the tidelands. Sunbathers will be restricted to the boundaries of the public section.
Scituate has installed signs on the seawall declaring where the public beach ends but a group of Humarock residents have installed multiple ‘No Trespassing’ and ‘Private Property’ signs in the middle of the sand on the south side of the beach.
However, a woman who has lived on Humarock for 50 years says most of the neighborhood doesn’t agree with the private beach signs and is afraid the public will be discouraged from enjoying Humarock, “In the summer, this beach was absolutely mobbed so you can’t take all the people that were coming here and smush them in this small area.”
But she’s worried what it’ll happen to local businesses next summer like Sands End Café which is found right next to the beach entrance. Marilyn Howe has owned the popular café for eight years now and says she’s very distraught.
“It will have a devastating impact on my business if this stands,” says Howe
But an unidentified Humarock homeowner believes businesses shouldn’t be adversely affected if beachgoers understand the new rules of beach use. He and a group of about 20 others live on Humarock only in the summer and have been going through the legal process for the last 4-5 years to establish where the public beach ends and where the private beach begins.
The Humarock man wishes to be unidentified because he says threats have been made to damage property owned by those responsible for the beach signs, “There have been some verbal threats like, ‘Oh yea, watch what happens when you’re gone not only to your signs but other things.’ So there are some folks now that are very, very nervous.”
But he explains the group needed to establish where the private beach begins because it’s a liability issue, “When you allow people to trespass and walk on your property and they fall and hurt themselves, guess who they’re going to sue?”
He also mentions that they want to enjoy their own backyard which is usually crowded in the summer with sunbathers.
The Humarock homeowner hopes Scituate police will enforce that sunbathers can only use the 300-foot stretch of public beach because he says the residents can’t do it themselves.
Scituate Selectmen plan to discuss the issue of public-private ownership at their meeting on October 2nd.