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Justices Preserve Public Access to Lake Michigan Shore - Government Practice News

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Government Practice News

Posted on: Mar 29, 2018

You may walk the shore of Lake Michigan, Indiana’s Supreme Court held recently. Justices settled that question in a landmark case, finding that the state’s public trust rights to the Lake Michigan shore extend to the ordinary high-water mark.

The decision comes in a case in which lakeshore landowners argued they were entitled to land on the shore up to the water’s edge at any time, potentially infringing public access.

“Today, we hold that the boundary separating public trust land from privately-owned riparian land along the shores of Lake Michigan is the common-law ordinary high-water mark and that, absent an authorized legislative conveyance, the State retains exclusive title up to that boundary,” Justice Mark Massa wrote for the court.

Read more from The Indiana Lawyer here and see the full opinion here.

This article was submitted by Samantha DeWester, Indiana Department of Natural Resources. If you would like to submit content or write an article for the Government Practice Section, please email Kara Sikorski at


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