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YORK, Maine (NECN) -Residents of York say they're prepared to go to court, if necessary, to protect public access to a gorgeous stretch of coast line.

On Saturday, townspeople voted 2,314 to 722 to defend their access to the historic Cliff Walk.

Generations of Mainers and visitors alike have walked along the two mile pathway that connects Harbor Beach to Cow Beach.

Among them long time York resident Bill Wieting.

"York is a picturesque town. There's no getting around that," said Wieting. "But the jewel in the crown is this walk."

The existence of this historic path is mentioned in the deeds of the 44 ocean front property owners whose land the path traverses... but two years ago two property owners Milton Peterson and Richard Rubin put up fences across the path without consulting the town first--effectively cutting off access to two-thirds of the scenic walk.

"We are fighting this because it's the right thing to do," said Wieting. "It's a tremendous asset. Why throw it always because of the whim of one rich man?"

A group calling itself "Friends Of The Cliff Walk" believes the deeds and historic usage give the public the right to pass.

And the question went to York voters on Saturday.

"The vote was important because the public had never been asked if they wanted us to fight for it," said Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Mary Andrews, "This path belongs to the people not the town."

The vote allows the town to set aside $50,000 in a legal fund to protect the public's right to the path, but even at this stage they're hoping to avoid a law suit

Andrews says now that the community has spoken, she hopes the property owners will reconsider their position and that they can reach an agreement that would satisfy the owners desire for privacy while allowing the public to enjoy their multimillion dollar views.

"There's always hope, if people will talk there's always hope," said Andrews.

If not the town will get ready to see the property owners in court.

We did try to reach the property owners in question for comment. Our attempts to reach them were unsuccessful.

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