Over the decades, the demand for waterfront land increased and consequently diminished public access to traditional maritime activities. Bigger ships, sprawling high security port districts and large-scale private industrial development pushed out community-scaled publicly accessible shoreline amenities. Municipal docks, Marina's, boat rental houses, fishing piers, and amusement parks once dotted the Seattle shorelines. Although many such amenities were private enterprises, they offered open public access. Today, there are few places where the general public can safely access small vessels at the water's edge.
Since the 1970's the Washington State legislature has recognized the need for increasing public access to the shores of Puget Sound. The legislation read:
"Public access includes the ability of the general public to reach, touch, and enjoy the water's edge, to travel on the waters of the state, and to view the water and the shoreline from adjacent locations"--(WAC 173-26-221)
Water access not only provides for more enjoyment, but provides an incentive for citizens to become more aware of the intricate ecosystems of the region. Increased public access encourages stewardship and participation in the preservation of the aquatic environment.