WAYNE PARRY / AP / U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT – New Jersey’s plan to protect threatened shorebirds by taking control of who can drive on a stretch of pristine beach has ruffled some feathers in a town accustomed to motoring across the sand, even as foes acknowledge the need to steer clear of the birds.
The state Department of Environmental Protection has begun issuing permits allowing vehicles to drive on the northernmost beaches of Brigantine, a popular coastal town just north of Atlantic City. They took over that function from the local government, which had been regulating beach driving for years.
But new rules limiting beach traffic to 75 vehicles a day — there formerly was no limit — and limiting permits only to drivers who use the beach to fish touched off a mini-revolt in this town where people’s attachment to their beach borders on the spiritual.
Hundreds of people packed a school auditorium Tuesday to denounce the plan; only one, a conservationist, spoke in favor of it, and he was booed …