To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Sent: Tuesday, August 9, 2016 12:21:45 PM
Subject: Beach tents / canopies
Dear Mayor and Council members,
We have an extended family of approximately thirty members who have vacationed at the same time in Cape May every year since 1983. Over the years our vacation experience has usually been positive. In the past couple of years a disturbing trend has appeared. We rent at least three homes on Jefferson and Stockton. We use the Jefferson St beach but on beach walks I have seen the problem on other beaches as well.
What I am referring to is the proliferation of tents and canopies. We have gotten used to the inconsiderate people who go to the beach at 7am and set up chairs on the high tide line ridge and not appear until mid-day. That was bad enough but now these space pigs have set up the tents and or canopies at the same time.
This year their were at least six to seven of these set up on a direct line from the entrance. I jog early on the beach and noticed that each group set up earlier and earlier to beat out their rivals. The ones on Jefferson beach averaged 10 X 14 feet.
We have a number of elderly in our group who have enough trouble walking in the sand without having to veer off to side areas to find space. They also can not sit at the back of the beach on the hot sand near the boardwalk. It should also be noted that two of the biggest offenders had no one sitting under them.
They set up the canopy and then added chairs and surfboards around the tent to advertise that they own this complete area. The group sat in front and on the sides but not under the tent. The only thing in the tent shade was the contraptions used to carry the tent, chairs and boards to the beach. To rub salt in the wounds, they also used the new small, portable sound systems.
The same two groups that ensured no one could sit next to them also dug trenches in front so no one could sit in front of them when the tide went out. This was not the only year these tactics were used. Americans are famous for super sizing everything. This trend is escalating. An umbrella offers enough shade to shelter babies or others. Most of these people don’t use the shade but use them as turf grabbers. They are like the tailgaters who use multiple parking spots. Actually after anchoring these behemoths the shade usually shifts outside the tents as the sun migrates.
What is next? I have read of some beaches that have had people setting up benches and tables. Some of Cape May beaches were shorter this year due to the winter storms. This exacerbates the problem.
Spring Lake, Long Beach Township, Avon, and Lavallette have banned them. Others are considering the issue. Other well known resort areas have prohibited them as well including Myrtle Beach and Hawaii. In addition to using too much space, they also present viewing problems for the lifeguards that umbrellas do not.
Please consider the use of tents / canopies for upcoming seasons. As I said, their shade benefit diminishes as the sun moves at which time they are so unwieldy they can’t be moved. If however, families say they need them for multiple elderly or many infants, restrict them to an area further back from the high water line. Some towns have done this.
Each year other towns are added to the list. We would love to see cape may be at the front of this trend.