Can we learn something from folk singer Woodie Guthrie: "This land is your land and this land is my land. This land was meant for you and me."

In 1940, folk singer Woodie Guthrie performed a song that would be taught in elementary school music classes and become part of our collective memory.

"This land is your land and this land is my land," the song begins. "This land was meant for you and me."

Guthrie was writing about the beauty of America as is stretches from coast to coast. We can only imagine what he would have said about the battle over sand that continues in Walton County and other coastal areas.

There, folks aren't celebrating the gift of wide open space. They're battling over interpretations of laws governing the use of local beaches.

The issue seems simple. Do folks who own property on the Gulf of Mexico have the right to keep people off their sand?

It's actually anything but, and the arguments were only exacerbated in Walton County by the passage of a Customary Use ordinance in 2016. The ordinance says people have a historic right to access at least some areas of the beach, even that claimed as private property.

The ordinance helps delineate, among other things, what is or isn't considered public property and gives Walton County Sheriff's Office deputies a set of rules and the authority to enforce them. Even so its validity was quickly challenged in court by private homeowners who maintain their property rights are being violated by the county allowing people to use what is theirs for recreational pleasure.

Things got further complicated this year when Florida lawmakers stepped in.

A Broward County state representative introduced bill language that could have potentially dismantled Walton County's ordinance. If passed, state Rep. Katie Edwards-Walpole's legislation would have made clear, analyists said, that a court should decide claims against a county customary use ordinance "on a parcel by parcel basis.”

That could have left Walton County stuck filing lawsuits against every beachfront owner along 26 miles of coastline who wanted to stake a private property claim.

The legislation introduced by Edwards-Walpole had support, but was opposed by lawmakers representing Walton County.

It appeared by week's end that a compromise had been reached that will leave it up to the property owners to prove their rights are being violated.

"The compromise language requires the county to go to court and show them our findings and say 'Would you decide we've proven customary use,' " Walton County Adniministrator Larry Jones said. "One of our big arguments was that this should be a judicial decision, not a legislative one."

Walton County officials continue to watch the progress of this legislation carefully, and it bears keeping a close eye on for more than just government officials. There are potential impacts for both beach goers and property owners along Walton County's 26 miles of beautiful coastline.

There are no easy answers. There are hard solutions, ones likely to leave folks on both sides of the shifting sand unhappy.