Hideaway Beach is a small strip of sand along the Marco River located just south of Naples Florida on Marco Island.
Since development began at Hideaway Beach mankind has tried in vain to control the beach in front of their million dollar homes. You may notice that the homes on the lower left side used to have Gulf of Mexico views, but as the years moved, the Gulf moved futher and further away, to the point that they now have back water views and not Gulf views.
Since the local government, with help from the Army Corps and Department of Environmental Protection, funded large projects in this area, which involved the moving millions of tons of sand in the hope of widening the beach, the situation for property owners along the beach does not seem to have improved.
Politicians have long claimed that this beach has public access so deserves public funding, but few have attempted to reach the beach, let alone with a few children in tow. Its a daunting task walking the now slipper river banks to get to this beach and few people that have boats use them to go sun bathing.
Lets say that when this funding was proposed, I objected to it and met the Collier County Clerk of Courts Dwight Brock, who said that it was the commissioners call on if it was legal or not. A call to Dwight Brock last week, as a reminder of these millions of dollars spent, rendered an option: “Hideaway Beach is accessible. Its accessible by boat and by foot.” Yet Dwight Brock has never tried either option.
Florida’s coastline has been sold-out to the highest bidder and it wasn’t to the County’s Parks and Recreation department.
The sale of expensive real estate along our coast has been good financially for local government and has set a precedence many now feel unjust, unfair and plain greedy.
For twenty-five years numerous attempts for legislation at the state level to protect the public’s right to utilize Florida’s beaches have failed. Without state legislation, local governments have had to set their own policies regarding public access to the beaches. Unfortunately, all too often, big money has had the upper hand and has dominated local policies and steered public access away from our beaches.
There were many cases resistance to this form of development in the past, but nothing compared to the organization and enthusiasm today.
Today’s Floridian is determined more than ever to fight for their rights to take back their coast backed with increasing numbers of the population moving down here and living near the coast.
Two groups, one local and one national, are rapidly gaining strength to take on the challenge of correcting twenty-five of unplanned growth.