, Newburyport, MA

April 26, 2013

Barrier beaches the front lines of the mainland

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

In response to Monday’s Daily News article by Jack Clarke of the Audubon Society, “Beaches on the move,” are the barrier beaches worth saving?

Our barrier beaches are the front lines of the mainland! They protect the marshes and the ecosystem associated with them.

My question then is, does the government that controls 681 barrier beaches, 1,500 miles of shoreline in Massachusetts really want to lose the front lines? Not to mention the values associated with them that financially benefit towns and the commonwealth. And also, if the barrier is lost, what happens to the wildlife, marshes, fish and ecosystem?

Will the mainland need to build walls to protect themselves? Will the hurricane and the nor’easters damage or destroy the downtowns? If all the barrier beach dunes are gone along the coast, will the USA shrink in size?

The people and the property that make up the population of the barrier beaches should be protected. We know the chances that we take and are willing to be on the front lines.

The people who come from all over the world to visit our beaches appreciate the beauty of our shorelines. Crowds flock to Salisbury Beach State Reservation, bringing revenue that subsidizes many other state parks in Mass.

Living on the beach for the past 30 years has taught me that the beauty of the coast does not only come from the physical surroundings, but also from the visitors. Take a good look and you will see young and old creating lasting memories of a day at the barrier beach. There are many reasons why people yearn to be by the sea: ocean breezes, the sound of children splashing in the waves, the hypnotic smell of the marshes, the beautiful walks and, yes, even the strength of nature during a coastal storm. I love living here. I love living on the front lines.

It is time that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and all the state agencies that claim to support the environment step up to the front lines and help save our barrier beaches.

We will not retreat! Why should we?

Ray Champagne