The Pentwater (Michigan) village council voted Monday to move the summer's Junior Sailing Program from the Pentwater Yacht Club to the village launch ramp. The move was first suggested because more participants come from the public at large than from Yacht Club membership.
However, a question of riparian rights was posed by a neighbor of the village ramp, Chuck Timmer. His claim is that anyone wading from the ramp into the lake on the east side will be trespassing on his property.
The village attorney Gary Nicholson researched the issue and learned that there are two reasons which make this claim unlikely to hold up. First, riparian lines are drawn perpendicularly to the centerline of the lake. With a DEQ map of the lake, lines drawn to the shore at the property boundaries indicate that there is enough room for sailing program participants to use the east side of the ramp.
Secondly, the state has continually upheld the rights of anyone to use an entire body of water for recreational purposes if the water is reached through a legal access.
Timmer's attorney responded that the laws could be interpreted in different ways and suggested that his client would pursue the question in court.
from the Ludington Daily News, by Cindy Shafer, "Junior Sailing Program to Move", Feb 12, 2008 (article not available on line)
See Pentwater Considers Public Venue for Junior Sailing Race, Jan 16, 2007
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