S.B. 778 Seeks to Restore Safety and Order to Our Inland Lakes and Streams
Following decades of well publicized legal wrangling and high profile court cases whose decisions are known to Michigan’s legion of well informed riparians, the Michigan State Senate will soon consider legislation that, if passed and signed into law, would clearly define and restrict activity at the thousands of public road ends that terminate at inland lakes and streams. Senate Bill 778 cleared the Judiciary Committee and was reported to the full Senate on October 26th. A House of Representatives version of the legislation is expected to be introduced soon.
As approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the language of the bill states that “a public road end shall not be used for any of the following unless a recorded deed, recorded easement, or other recorded dedication expressly provides otherwise:
- construction, installation, maintenance, or use of boat hoist or
boat anchorage devices;
- mooring or docking of a vessel between 12 midnight and sunrise;
- any activity that obstructs ingress to or egress from the inland lake or stream.”
In addition, the bill states that “a public road end shall not be used for the construction, installation, maintenance, or use of a dock or wharf other than a single seasonal public dock or wharf that is authorized by the local unit of government.” Violators would be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.
Michigan Lake and Stream Associations enthusiastically supports the expedient passage and enactment of this long overdue legislation that seeks to provide a simple, pragmatic and equitable solution to the myriad of social, legal and natural resources management related issues that frequently arise at heretofore unregulated public road ends.
We strongly suggest that the riparian readers of this newsletter immediately contact their respective state senators and representatives to encourage their support for this important legislation – passage of Senate Bill 778 is by no means guaranteed, please add your voice to those of the Michigan Waterfront Alliance and Michigan Lake and Stream Associations now to help ensure that a modicum of responsibility, civility as well as law and order are re-established next summer on our priceless inland lakes and streams. We may not have a second opportunity to accomplish this important legislative goal – act now, pick-up the telephone or e-mail your senators and representatives today !