Great Lakes
Long Beach community Alliance

'A grave danger' to beach rights

Mayor, non-profits warn SB 581 strips rights, endangers lakefront access to Lake Michigan.

MICHIGAN CITY – Just days after the Indiana Senate approved a bill to spell out the rights of public recreational use of the Lake Michigan shore, environmental groups and municipalities are warning of another bill that could undermine those efforts and take away local control of the shoreline.

"Michigan CIty Mayor Ron Meer has joined with the Long Beach Community Alliance and Save the Dunes to warn that Indiana Senate Bill 581 poses a grave danger for the Indiana public’s rights on the shoreline, as well as the management of upland dunes, affecting more than just Lake Michigan’s coastal communities," a statement from the two non-profits said.

Meer calls the bill a danger to public rights.

"The City of Michigan City is vehemently opposed to Indiana Senate Bill 581," Meer said. "Michigan City has taken great strides in the protection and restoration of our natural resources while providing public access to Lake Michigan and the lakeshore to residents and visitors.

"We have made significant investments on park property, in areas which would become 'Lake Michigan Shore Zone,' under Senate Bill 581. The new zone will allow disturbance of the restored and protected areas."

Less than than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Indiana Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Gunderson v. State that the state owns the Lake Michigan shore in trust for the public, "the Indiana Senate on Feb. 21 adopted SB 581, which threatens to undo that decision and put the public’s right to use and enjoy the shore in jeopardy," Patricia Sharkey of the Long Beach Alliance said.

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