Was Michigan Beach Walking Threatened?
In 2012, Senate Bill 1052 would let beach owners groom their beaches without requiring a permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. This ability has been a goal of groups such as Save our Shoreline fighting to regain control over beach areas on behalf of waterfront owners for 12 years.
However, columnist Michael Eckert: from the Port Huron Tribune noted that critics say the Senate bill isn’t exactly what it seems. On its face, it is a bill to clarify “beach grooming” regulations. The proposed law would allow lakefront property owners to mow or remove the vegetation between the water and their lawns. But it also looks to redefine where the state has control and what is deemed public domain on the Great Lakes shorelines.”
Eckert continues that “traditionally and historically, the lakes and the ground they cover have belonged to everyone. That means that everyone has a right to float upon the water and a right to walk along the beach beneath the ordinary high water mark.” The Michigan United Conservation Clubs provided testimony that shows this bill would “…have an extremely negative effect on public access to shorelines by allowing for the creation of fences or structures that would prevent pedestrian passage along the coast…”
If passed Senate Bill 1052, the bill would have overturned centuries of legal precedent by moving the boundary between public and private land somewhere offshore. It would also threaten the tradition of beach walking all of Michigan’s shorelines. ThumbWind.com would support this bill if it can be noted that the public right to access is not jeopardized. This right is critical to the traditions unique to Michigan and our tourist industry.
Related Reading Michigan Beach Rights
- Mich. Senate OKs Dropping Beach Grooming Rules – The Michigan Senate has passed a bill to abolish a state program that regulates maintenance of beaches by property owners along the state’s Great Lakes shorelines.
- Mich. Bill Revives Shoreline Grooming Debate – When Great Lakes water levels dropped suddenly and steeply in the late 1990s, aquatic plants sprang up along ranges of newly exposed shoreline. Property owners, environmentalists, and government leaders have debated ever since about how to deal with the vegetation, which some consider important to the ecosystem and others an ugly mess.
- It’s Time to Consider a Bounty On Asian Carp – Michigan is one of the few states with open and active bounty statutes. These laws date back to the 1800s and were meant to address the same problem we have today; invasive species.
- Climate Change 2014 – Warmest On Record – Since 1880, Earth’s average surface temperature has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius), a trend that is largely driven by the increase in carbon dioxide and other human emissions into the planet’s atmosphere. The majority of that warming has occurred in the past three decades.