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The idea of conservation and preservation of the American Beach area is nothing new. In fact, one of the biggest advocates of the beach and “Nana” (American Beach’s 60-foot sand dune) was MaVynne Betsch. For many years, Ms. Betsch was the driving force behind much of the conservation and historical preservation work that occurred around American Beach.

MaVynne led black history tours, founded the A.L. Lewis Historical Society, lobbied to have American Beach listed on the National Register of Historic Places and to make Nana the property of the National Park Service. She also lobbied to require a buffer of land between the beach and northern development. Her dream was to keep the American Beach she loved alive and well for future generations to enjoy just as she did when she made the beach her home so many years ago. MaVynne, who was sometimes better known as “the Beach Lady,” was an icon in American Beach and died of cancer on September 5, 2005, but her legacy can still live — with the assistance of us all. Luckily, others (including American Beach Foundation) are stepping in to take over where she left off — that’s where the conservation effort comes into play.

American Beach Foundation wants to keep Ms. Betsch’s legacy and philosophy alive. The foundation sees that one of the biggest threats to making MaVynne’s dream a reality is the development of commercial real estate along American Beach, as well as the deterioration of the beach area. Only by working together can our group, local citizens and environmentalists like MaVynne’s peers prevent over-development on and around American Beach. The history and beaches of American Beach are important to the overall culture of Florida.

The goal of American Beach Foundation is to preserve the beauty that exists today and share the history of the beach with visitors today and tomorrow. We can achieve this goal by preventing under funding in communal programs that help the preservation efforts as well as working to prevent the over-development of commercial real estate in the area. This is something that our group can only do with the support of others throughout the region.

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