Public Access Shoreline Hawaii

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Public Access Shoreline Hawaii (PASH), was founded by and its president was Jerry Rothstein.


Rothstein's lawsuit over a coastal development in Kohanaiki on the Big Island resulted in a 1995 landmark Hawaii State Supreme Court decision, [1], affirming Native Hawaiian gathering and cultural rights on private property.

BLNR shoreline certification rules

In July 2005, Earthjustice, on behalf PASH and the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter, filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of the State of Hawai'i, First Circuit, against the Board of Land and Natural Resources and its Chair, Peter Young, challenging the definition of the "shoreline" under the BLNR's shoreline certification rules. [2]

The BLNR had established a "blanket preference for the "vegetation line" over the "debris line" in determining shorelines. This fixation on vegetation, even where waves push debris further inland, has exacerbated erosion and loss of public beaches statewide by allowing development too close to the ocean and encouraging landowners to appropriate public beach by artificially extending the vegetation line seaward." [3]

In December of 2005, "the citizen groups agreed to drop the lawsuit in return for the BLNR's agreement to initiate the process of amending the definition in the rules to remove any language suggesting a blanket preference for the vegetation line in determining the shoreline." [4]

In October 2006, the Hawaii State Supreme Court "issued a ruling strongly reaffirming that the shoreline in Hawai`i, which marks the boundary between public beach and private land, extends to the highest wash of the waves, and rejecting the use of artificially planted vegetation to determine the shoreline." [5]

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