Nation : Maine Upholds Puritan Beach Law

From Times wire services

The Maine Supreme Court today barred the public from swimming or sunbathing on a mile-long beach, citing a 341-year-old Puritan ordinance.

The ruling could threaten access to Maine’s rare sand beaches, which account for only 35 miles of a mostly rocky, meandering 3,500-mile coast.

In a 4-3 decision upholding a lower court decision, the court said access to privately owned Moody Beach in Wells is limited to fishing, bird-hunting and boating. The court upheld a 1987 ruling by Superior Court Justice William S. Brodrick that public access to the beach is limited by a 1648 ordinance to “fishing, fowling and navigation.”