May 1, 2012
Contact: Ken or Kate Gooderham, ASBPA executive directors -- (239) 489-2616
Harry Simmons, ASBPA president -- (910) 200-7867
Communities show their support for America’s coast:
Restored beaches the real winners in online poll
People love their beaches, as anyone in the coastal community well knows. So when you ask people what’s their favorite beach, be prepared for an enthusiastic and emphatic response.
That’s what the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) got from the “Best of the Best Restored Beach” online contest, allowing beach lovers from around the world their chance to vote in support of their favorite restored beach. Thousands and thousands of votes later, here are the results:
- Top urban beach: West Hampton Dunes, NY
- Top community beach: Navarre Beach, FL (also garnering the highest overall vote total)
- Top park/habitat beach: Presque Isle, PA
In addition to the three categories, ASBPA also compiled votes by regional categories (with the three top winners excluded). Those results:
- Northeast Beaches: East Beach, Norfolk, VA
- Northwest Beaches: Marine Park, Bellingham, WA
- Southeast Beaches: Isle of Palms, SC
- Florida Gulf Coast Beaches: Captiva Island, FL
- Northern and Western Gulf Coast Beaches: Corpus Christi, TX
- South Central Pacific Coast & Hawaii Beaches: Kuhio Beach, Waikiki, HI
- Great Lakes Beaches: Sunrise Beach Park, IL
In addition, ASBPA President Harry Simmons singled out Panama City, FL, for a special President’s Award, citing the strong community support (which placed them a very strong second in the Urban Beach category). Said Simmons: “In any other contest, garnering more than 8,000 votes in support of your restored beach would make one a big winner. Panama City just had the misfortune to get caught behind a couple of communities that worked very hard to get out the vote, which pushed them out of the running for both their category and their region. The sugary white beaches that draw so many to Panama City certain deserve our recognition and reward, however, as does the community’s long-standing commitment to protecting its beautiful coastline.”
“We were overwhelmed by the positive turnout,” said BRB chairman Lee Weishar, an ASBPA board member. “To bring in almost 27,000 votes in the Community Beach contest (and almost 24,000 in the Urban contest) shows the strong support from the various communities whose beaches were included in the online balloting and demonstrates the passion people have for THEIR beach. In reading the comments voters left, we were struck both by the devotion people have for their favorite beach and for beaches in general… how people could comment knowledgably on a number of the beaches in the contest, having visited many of them regularly.”
“Our goal in this contest was to make more people aware of the substantial benefits and widespread prevalence of restored beaches, on all of America’s coasts,” said Simmons. “Judging by the responses we received, we more than succeeded. People love their beaches, and more of them are now aware that those beaches have been restored to keep them healthy and wide.”
Winning beach communities will be honored at a special ceremony during the 2013 ASBPA National Coastal Summit, held in Washington, DC, Feb. 26-28. Complete descriptions of each of the beaches who were in the running for Best-of-the-Best Beach are online.
About the BRB contest
To celebrate 10 years of honoring Best Restored Beaches (BRB) across America, the ASBPA asked its members, past BRB winners and their communities, and anyone who loves the beach to pitch in to pick the Best of the Best Restored Beaches in three categories:
- Urban Beaches: Highly developed beaches, including intensely developed areas with high-rise condos and resorts.
- Community Beaches: Less densely developed beaches backed by low-rise or single-family dwellings.
- Park/Habitat Beaches: Areas that undertake beach nourishment solely for habitat restoration and park projects. These can be in remote regions or in the middle of a city.
The category wasn’t a comment on a restored beach’s success, but on its population – so the different levels were a way to ensure similar beaches compete against one another. After all, a lot more people were going to be aware of, say, Ocean City than its less populated neighbor to the south, Assateague Island… so these two fine beaches shouldn’t be in a head-to-head vote.
Since all the beaches here have already been honored for their success and survival, this contest wasn’t about which one is the better restored beach…simply the one(s) that did the best job to get out the vote. Another motivation behind this contest was to remind people that so many of this country’s favorite beaches have been restored – some so successfully that the folks who visit them don’t even know or remember it. It was a way to highlight the importance of sound coastal management, as well as the need to maintain our coastal infrastructure to keep it healthy and wide for all users.
What’s a Best Restored Beach?
While Americans joyfully celebrate beaches by visiting them, few understand what it takes to keep that beach special. ASBPA created the Best Restored Beach award a decade ago as a way of highlighting the value of restored beaches.
For the last 40 years, beach restoration has been the preferred method of shore protection in coastal communities. Beach restoration is the process of placing beach-quality sand on dwindling beaches to reverse or offset the effects of erosion.
The three main reasons for restoration are:
- Storm protection – a wide sandy beach helps separate storm waves from upland structures and infrastructure.
- Habitat restoration – numerous species rely on wide, healthy beaches as a place to live, feed and nest.
- Recreation – America’s beaches have twice as many visitors annually as all of America’s national parks combined. Every year, there are more than 2 billion visitors to America’s beaches. In 2007, beaches contributed $322 billion to the America’s economy. More importantly, for every dollar the federal government spends on beach nourishment, it gets an estimated $320 back in tax revenues.
During times of economic hardship, the beach can be an even more desirable vacation destination than other domestic and foreign alternatives, offering families and visitors an accessible and affordable getaway. It is also an employment and tax generator:
- More than twice as many people visit America’s coasts as visit our state and national parks—all of them combined.
- Each year, governments take in $320 in taxes from beach tourists for every dollar it spends on beach restoration.
- Well over half of the nation’s gross domestic product ($7.9 trillion) is generated in 673 counties along the oceans and Great Lakes, according to NOAA’s National Ocean Economics Program.
The Best-of-the-Best Restored Beaches…who’s in the running?
- Virginia Beach, VA
- Ocean City, MD
- Cape May Inlet to Lower Township, NJ
- West Hampton Dunes, NY
- Rehoboth and Dewey Beaches, DE
- Fire Island, NY
- East Beach, Norfolk, VA
- Menauhant Beach, MA
- Sea Bright to Manasquan Beach Project, NJ
- Assateague Island National Seashore, MD
- Marine Park, Bellingham, WA
- Seahurst Park, WA
- Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, WA
- Pompano Beach/Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Beach, FL
- Delray Beach, FL
- North Boca Raton, FL
- Duval County, FL
- Miami Beach, FL
- Isle of Palms, SC
- Caswell Beach, NC
- Hilton Head Island, SC
- Bogue Banks, NC
- Folly Beach, SC
- Ocean Isle Beach, NC
- Indian River County, FL
Florida Gulf Coast Beaches
- Panama City Beach, FL
- Pinellas County, FL
- Collier County, FL
- Venice Beach, FL
- South Walton & Destin, FL
- Lido Key, Florida
- Captiva Island, FL
- St. Joseph Peninsula, FL
- Navarre Beach, FL
Northern and Western Gulf Coast Beaches
- South Padre Island, TX
- Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, AL
- Perdido Pass, AL
- Chaland Headland Restoration, LA
South Central Pacific Coast & Hawaii Beaches
- Long Beach Peninsula, CA
- Pacifica State Beach, CA
- San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), CA
- Moonlight Beach, CA
- Kuhio Beach, Waikiki, HI
- Seal Beach, CA
- Surfside-Sunset Beach, CA
- Encinitas (Pacific Station), CA
Great Lakes Beaches
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ABOUT ASBPA: Founded in 1926, the ASBPA promotes the integration of science, policies and actions that maintain, protect and enhance the coasts of America. For more information on ASBPA, go to www.asbpa.org, facebook or www.twitter.com/asbpa.