Around New England

These People Are Serious About Their Beach Rocks

May 13, 2019

Town Meeting voters in Westport have approved a new bylaw that provides a $250 fine for taking rocks and vegetation from town beaches.

Sean Leach, a member of the town’s Beach Committee, showed during Town Meeting last week photos he took of people taking rocks from a beach in Westport.

“Now this does seem like a very innocent thing to do. But the number of times I see it done, and then when I see people filling barrels, and landscapers filling up the back of dump trucks, it starts to get a little disturbing what’s going on on the beaches,” Leach said.

Professional landscapers take rocks from the beach for rock gardens, fire pits, and mantles, he said.

“We all understand children, grandchildren pick up a couple of shells, pick up a couple of rocks, bring it home. That’s not what we’re trying to stop here. We’re not trying to ruin somebody’s fun for the summer,” Leach said. “What we’re trying to stop, basically, and I saw some tonight actually on my way here, is to stop the people who are just filling up trucks and everything with rocks …”

The bylaw prohibits taking rocks and also vegetation. Leach said winterberry is a popular item people take from the beach, for Christmas displays.

Existing surveillance cameras at the beach will be used to help enforce the bylaw, along with signs stating the prohibition and police patrols, Leach said.

Town Meeting approved the measure by a unanimous voice vote, with little discussion.

Westport is a town of about 15,000 people on the South Coast of Massachusetts, southeast of Fall River and east of Rhode Island, both of which it borders.

Westport Town Meeting took place Tuesday, May 7. The beach rocks bylaw discussion starts at 2:21:47 of the video published by Westport Community Television, the town’s local cable-access station.

Westport resident Sean Leach’s top 10 reasons given for taking rocks from beaches in Westport, Massachusetts.

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