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Boreal Community Media

Supreme Court rejects Great Lakes beach access case

Feb 23, 2019 02:11PM ● By Editor
Photo:  Flicker

By Emma Winowiecki of Michigan Public Radio - February 21, 2019

With March approaching, the end of winter is just barely within reach, which has many of us dreaming of hot summer days at the beach. And now the ability to have those long walks on the beach has just been guaranteed.

The Supreme Court rejected a case this week that would have called into question who is allowed to access Great Lakes beachfront property. 

An Indiana couple with beachfront property on Lake Michigan sued the state in order to challenge whether their ownership of the land extended to the shoreline. The Indiana State Supreme Court rejected that idea last year, ruling that the ordinary high-water mark is the boundary between state-owned land under and adjacent to Lake Michigan, and the land controlled by lakefront homeowners.

By declining to hear the couple's appeal, the Supreme Court ensured that decision would stand.

A similar court case played out in Michigan in 2005. The Michigan Supreme Court ruled anyone can walk along the shore of the Great Lakes, as long as they stay below the high-water mark.

So while the snow and ice pile up for a few more months, we can all look forward to dipping our toes in the Great Lakes soon.

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