Nation: America's Abused Coastline

A drive is launched to save an endangered natural treasure

Sweeping south from the chilly waters off Maine and Washington to the warm undergirth along the Gulf of Mexico, the shoreline of the U.S. runs for 53,677 miles—and that figure does not include the lengthy coasts of Alaska and Hawaii. But not all is sandy beaches, suntanned bodies, squawking gulls and imposing cliffs. Increasingly, the American coast is becoming a victim of its own magnetism: it attracts heedless development that is fouling its beauty, undermining its ecological importance, and crippling its ability to stand up to nature's winds and waves.

That is the...

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