Road end on great lakes

Asked June 13, 2020, 4:10 PM EDT

We have a voluntary association for our subdivision that has started putting up barriers at the road ends. I would like to use the road ends to launch a water craft. However the barriers only allow foot traffic. Do they have the right to control the water access. It is a road that is perpendicular to Lake Huron. I asked the”association’s” president if they have a deed to the land. She said no. Again I am not a member to the association and I believe it’s just a bunch of people who live near the public access that are trying to decide who they deem worthy of using the public land near their land. Thank Dan

Iosco County Michigan

1 Response

Thank you for your question. This will most likely depend on whether the right of way is public or private. If it is private, meaning it is owned and maintained by the Homeowners Association, restrictions are usually enforced by the governing association. Here is a resource on that: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/what_can_and_cant_i_do_in_my_homeowners_association

If it is public, an important factor is whether the road is parallel or perpendicular to the water. If perpendicular, as in your case, public access is generally permitted for "reasonable use". That use may include launching a boat so long as the topography will allow without causing harm to the water resource or nuisance, .
https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/water_use_at_perpendicular_versus_parallel_roads_where_are_public_versus_ri
https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/what_is_reasonable_use_of_michigans_waters

To get more information, see about deeds, and determine your course of action, you may want to check with the road commission and/or the County Register of Deeds. Good luck!