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Abstract

This Article addresses questions of resource allocation and property rights, first, by presenting a brief description of the historical and legal foundation of coastal resource allocation in the United States: the “public trust doctrine.” Second, a survey of the Washington experience demonstrates, surprisingly, that a state whose 2,337 miles of marine coastline approximately equals the length of the entire remaining coastline of the contiguous western United States, has managed to establish a viable and responsive regulatory regime governing coastal resource use with scarcely a mention in its laws of the “public trust doctrine.”