Book Reviews

George Smith
Bangor Daily News Blog Book Review

“In 1989, Maine’s Supreme Court took away our right to enjoy our ocean intertidal zones. Looking all the way back to when Maine was part of Massachusetts, the Justices ruled that our opportunities to enjoy the intertidal zones are limited to fishing, fouling, and navigation.”



Richard E. Barringer, Ph.D. (MIT)
Emeritus Professor, Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine
Former Commissioner, Maine Department of Conservation, and former Director, Maine State Planning Office

Here, a distinguished scholar of land use law and ceaseless advocate for the common good makes the case that Maine’s Law Court has failed utterly to protect the public’s right to full use of Maine’s thousands of miles of intertidal lands. Orlando Delogu makes a complete and compelling case, well and thoughtfully argued. It will interest anyone who travels, lives, or works along the coast; who wishes to see our courts better protect public rights; or who simply wishes to enjoy the splendid beauty of Maine.


Edgar A. Beem, BA (University of Southern Maine); MS (Simmons College)
Journalist and Newspaper Columnist

For generations, the understanding and practice along the Maine Coast was that the intertidal zone was in the public domain, as it is in most states. Mainers were shocked, therefore, when the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 1989 that the only rights they had in the intertidal zone were for “fishing, fowling and navigation.” In “Maine’s Beaches are Public Property” Emeritus Professor of Law Orlando Delogu argues powerfully and persuasively that the Law Court got it wrong and that their decision needs to be reviewed in the public interest. I wholeheartedly concur.



Brenda Buchanan, Esq., BS (Northeastern University) 1980; JD (Univ. of Maine School of Law)

Partner, Warren, Currier, & Buchanan law firm, Portland, Maine

Orlando Delogu does not mince words in in his just-released book, Maine’s Beaches Are Public Property. The controversial 1986 and 1989 cases that declared intertidal zone private property were wrong as a matter of law, he says, and the time has come for the Maine Law Court to correct its error.”



Edwin A. Churchill, Ph.D. (University of Maine, Orono)
Expert Witness, Specialist in the history of Maine’s early settlement

The Maine Law Court’s controversial decisions in the late 1980s to privatize Maine intertidal lands after 300 plus years of public use was instantly controversial. Subsequent legal and historical research has revealed much that the court overlooked, ignored, brushed aside or misconstrued in its ruling. Professor Delogu’s book systematically identifies and thoroughly examines the many shortcomings in the court’s deeply flawed decisions. In fact, he indisputably demonstrates that Maine’s beaches have always been open to a broad range of public uses. Well researched and carefully argued, this book is, by far, the single best legal treatise on the subject.


Martha Freeman, Esq., BA (Hampshire College); MS (USM); JD (Univ. of Maine School of Law)
Former Director, Me. State Planning Office and former Director, Me. Legis. Office of Policy and Legal Analysis

In a lifetime of scholarship and public service, Professor Orlando Delogu has done nothing more important than present the case contained in “Maine’s Beaches are Public Property.” For litigants, lawyers, legislators, judges, and state and town officials concerned with questions of intertidal zone ownership in Maine, this book is vital reading. But its greatest gift is to all Maine people who love our coastline. No one should live in exile from the Maine shore. Professor Delogu argues masterfully and persuasively that the historical and legal records are on the public’s side.


Peggy L. McGehee, Esq., BA (Wellesley); MPA (Princeton); JD (Georgetown/Univ. of Maine School of Law)
Expertise in land use law; partner, Perkins Thompson law firm; Co-Author, Maine Civil Remedies (4th ed.)

Professor Delogu’s book is a thorough and laser-clear legal history of the public’s right to use Maine’s beaches. It is also a playbook for both litigants and the Law Court in any future public rights beach case; it persuasively argues for the reversal of the Bell I and II decisions to restore the original pre-Bell rights in the public to use Maine’s intertidal lands for any and all purposes delineated by the Legislature.


Charles H. Norchi Esq., BA (Harvard); J.S.D. (Yale)
Professor of Law, Univ. of Maine School of Law
Director, Center for Oceans & Coastal Law

I write in strong support of an important book authored by Professor Orlando Delogu, “Maine’s Beaches Are Public Property: The Bell Cases Must Be Reexamined.” As Center Director at the Law School I follow Maine and global coastal issues closely. Professor Delogu’s manuscript is a clarion call for a more equitable balance of public and private uses of Maine’s intertidal lands that only a reexamination of the Bell cases can achieve. This book, though focused on Maine, will earn a wide audience among coastal states in the United States and abroad where citizens seek to accommodate similarly competing demands.


Lee Schepps, Esq., B.S. (Union College, N.Y.); LLB (Southern Methodist University)
Former Staff Attorney, Me. A.G.’s Office; Co-counsel in Maine’s Public Lots Cases

Orlando Delogu has a long and distinguished career in environmental law and, especially, in matters relating to land use. This book touches directly on a subject of great importance to all those who value and enjoy the coast of Maine. Reconsideration of precedent is never an easy task. This carefully researched, well-argued book makes a compelling case to do so, and deserves wide readership.