Indiana high court to rule on Lake Michigan beach ownership

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The Indiana Supreme Court will decide who owns the land immediately adjacent to Lake Michigan.

The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports that Don and Bobbie Gunderson claim their land on Lake Michigan extends to the water’s edge, meaning no one can access the beach by their house without permission.

The state says it owns the land in a trust for all residents up to the “ordinary high-water mark.”

Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher says the state was granted the land at statehood in 1816. He says the state must control beach erosion, which it can’t do effectively if nearby homeowners are allowed to claim the beach as their own.

Justices will receive written briefs and likely hear oral arguments later this year before issuing a decision, likely in 2018.

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