Ruling says public has right to access Lake Michigan beaches

(Tom Gill/Flickr)

The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled property owners along Lake Michigan must allow access to the lake's beach for members of the public.

The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports the court ruled Wednesday that the Lake Michigan shore is owned by the state and held as a public trust for all Hoosiers. The state land extends from the high-water mark to the low-water mark.

The change means landowners bordering Lake Michigan have property rights that overlap with the state's public trust.

The case originated with property owners Don and Bobbie Gunderson of the LaPorte County town of Long Beach. They sought a declaratory judgment that their land extends to the water's edge regardless of where it is at any time and they're entitled to exclusive use of that land.