Land owners can't keep public off of Lake Michigan beaches, judge rules

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By: Rick Callahan/Associated Press

(Source:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A northern Indiana judge has ruled that property owners along Indiana’s short stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline cannot deny the public access to that space.

Long Beach property owner Don Gunderson sued Indiana and the state Department of Natural Resources last year, arguing that his lakefront property along Indiana’s 45-mile shoreline extends to the water’s edge in the exclusive community 30 miles east of Chicago.

He argued that his property’s deed gave him “complete and exclusive ownership” of the adjoining beach.

But LaPorte Superior Court Judge Richard Stalbrink Jr. recently ruled against him. He found that Gunderson and other landowners can’t deny the public access to the beach below its ordinary high-water mark. That area encompasses much of the beachfront.

Gunderson’s attorney had no comment Wednesday on the ruling.