Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Why is Marine Spatial Planning Important for Surfrider?

All this talk about Marine Spatial Planning can be a bit confusing. The truth is that the entire process of Marine Spatial Planning is really based upon the people, first and foremost.  Understanding how Marine Spatial Planning relates specifically to you and your recreational enjoyment is vital to the process. 

Access to Recreational Areas
With a coastline of over 3,000 miles Washington has a variety of coastal recreation areas.  Despite its apparent abundance, continued development of the coast has limited public access to our coastal areas and beaches. This is one reason to take part in Marine Spatial Planning-to help keep industry out of our important recreational areas.  Various industry activities like oil drilling, coal transport, or energy exploration pose threats to the ecosystems valued for their recreational opportunities.  Decreasing the influx of industry in areas with high recreational value is vital. 

Health of Recreational Areas
Keeping our recreational areas healthy is an important part of our experience outdoors.  After all, we cannot let our children play in polluted water.  Nor would we enjoy taking in a view of water inundated by shredded plastics.  We value the areas that we recreate in, and part of that means taking care of them properly and making sure that their value is properly accounted for in the Marine Spatial Planning process. 

Enjoyment for All
The ocean is one of the largest natural resources, and provides a myriad of benefits for humans and animals alike.  This is why we need to ensure that recreationalists are not priced out of areas and the oceans and beaches can continue to be enjoyed by everyone.  Surfrider was born from an innate love of the water, and part of our mission is to protect that resource for the enjoyment of all.  Just because the coast has high economic value, does not mean that only a subset of the population should enjoy it: the waves are for everyone.

Help with the Marine Spatial Planning process by understanding how it relates to you, and make sure to participate in the public commenting period.  Remember-this process aims to bring multiple stakeholders together to create solutions that work for us all.  So help out the process and make sure that you are heard! For more information or how to make a public comment please contact Casey Dennehy, Pacific Coast Coordinator in Washington at