Land and water are strange bedfellows.

My mother-in-law owns a piece of land in Plymouth, and there's an ongoing joke in the family, that the size of her lot depends on the amount of water in the swamp out back. When things are pretty soppy and damp, her lot comes in around 40 acres. If it's a dry time of year, she has 80 acres. Obviously, she's taxed on 80, but it's only half usable.

After living in southern Maine for years, there was always debate about who owned the beaches, and how much of it. Forever, the answer has been that the low tide point was never private. But there was always some grey area about the intertidal zones. Some argued that land should belong to folks too.

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What's the intertidal zone?

This is the spot where, at high tide, the least amount of land is visible. when the tide is out, it's typically the wet area between the beach and the low tide zone. But now, that has changed according to WGME and the BDN. A judge in Cumberland County ruled that the land in between is now the property of the adjacent owner.

But, this does not ban all activity on certain beaches, nor does it make it strictly private property. We told you last year how it seemed like the debate had been settled, and that the intertidal zone was ultimately public property, so this is a big change to that rule. I doubt it's going to make things less contentious in these areas.

Mainers love going to the beach, and we have a lot of killer ones, no doubt. It remains to be seen how they'll settle how the public can access intertidal zones, but as far as the matter of who actually owns them, that's all water down the beach now.


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