The Michigan Court of Appeals says a Roscommon County judge erred in a case involving access to Higgins Lake at a road end.
For more than 100 years the public has been using this tiny strip of land as a beach. In fact, adjacent landowners formed an association to maintain the property for the public.
Fast forward to the 1980's when new owners bought neighboring land. They eventually went to court to argue this narrow strip is still part of a public road. If it is, use is restricted to launching a boat or getting into or out of the water.
The Roscommon County Circuit Court agreed with them, but last week the Appeals Court overturned that ruling. The panel said the County never accepted the strip or maintained it as part of a public road, so restrictions on public use of road ends don't apply.
The Appeals Court sent the matter back to the County Court to sort out whether the public can still use the property for picnicking and sunbathing.
Similar disputes over access to lakes at road ends continue to crop up across Northern Michigan.