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RememberSchiff

Public access to Scout properties reconsidered?

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With increased vandalism and public use almost to the point of squatting, should the common policy of  allowing public access when the camp is not being used by scouts be reconsidered ?

 

Three years ago, Nobscot Scout Reservation was vandalized causing an estimated $20K damage . A press release from Council stated, “The Knox Trail Council, Boy Scouts of America provides public access to hiking trails at the facility,†... “This is an outstanding community resource and should be treated with respect.“

 

The ownership of a lTreasure Valleys boat ramp is now disputed. After Council allowed "public access" for years, the local town believes it owns the ramp. The town is now funding a $10K land survey to clarify ownership.

Edited by RememberSchiff

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There's always going to be a bit of "if you give a mouse a cookie .. " on both sides.

The public may contribute to the well being of the camp in ways far more valuable than the cost of occasional conflict.

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In my state, all lakes are considered to be public property. A scout camp can own all of the land surrounding a lake, but not the lake itself. That part of a boat ramp that crosses the shoreline and extends into the water would be on public property.

 

My guess is that the survey is being done to determine where the camp's property ends and the public property begins.

 

I have seen public/private agreements whereby the camp supplies the access road, and a government entity pays for the underwater ramp. It is often a good deal for the camp.

Edited by David CO
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If one owns the land all the way around a lake or pond in Wisconsin, one does not need to have public access to it.  Rivers are an exception,  Even if one owns land on both sides of the river, they cannot restrict anyone from traveling across the land as long as they stay afloat.

 

In Iowa if the DNR stocks a farm pond for fishing on someone's property, they have to close it off for so many years and then make public access to it for fishing.

 

One also has to remember that even if the public has access to a lake, does not mean it has access to any private docks or shoreline around the lake,  They can get to the lake, launch a watercraft for recreation and return to the public "landing".  If there is a dock 10' away on private property, that is not part of the landing, nor is it open to public access.

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With increased vandalism and public use almost to the point of squatting, should the common policy of  allowing public access when the camp is not being used by scouts be reconsidered ?

 

Three years ago, Nobscot Scout Reservation was vandalized causing an estimated $20K damage . A press release from Council stated, “The Knox Trail Council, Boy Scouts of America provides public access to hiking trails at the facility,†... “This is an outstanding community resource and should be treated with respect.“

 

The ownership of a lTreasure Valleys boat ramp is now disputed. After Council allowed "public access" for years, the local town believes it owns the ramp. The town is now funding a $10K land survey to clarify ownership.

 

 

I would theorize that the people that actually visits that property to enjoy the public hiking available, are highly unlikely to also be the same people that would vandalize the property to the tune of $20,000. I would also theorize that even if the camp was not open to the public for hiking, such damage could still occur.

 

That being stated, it was hikers that caused the fire in the Smokies by tossing lit matches into the brush so I would not put it past a couple of opportunistic juvenile hikers:

 

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/30/gatlinburg-wildfire-arson-charges-dropped-against-teens/443129001/

 

The boys were hiking on the Chimney Tops trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Nov. 23 and tossing lit matches onto the ground around the trail. Brush caught fire. The boys continued hiking down the trail. A fellow hiker with a Go-Pro happened to catch footage of them with smoke in the background. He didn’t know it was important.

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If one owns the land all the way around a lake or pond in Wisconsin, one does not need to have public access to it.  Rivers are an exception,  Even if one owns land on both sides of the river, they cannot restrict anyone from traveling across the land as long as they stay afloat.

 

In Iowa if the DNR stocks a farm pond for fishing on someone's property, they have to close it off for so many years and then make public access to it for fishing.

 

One also has to remember that even if the public has access to a lake, does not mean it has access to any private docks or shoreline around the lake,  They can get to the lake, launch a watercraft for recreation and return to the public "landing".  If there is a dock 10' away on private property, that is not part of the landing, nor is it open to public access.

 

Then we get into the additional issues and expense of fencing off limited access areas...it can be a mess. 

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One also has to remember that even if the public has access to a lake, does not mean it has access to any private docks or shoreline around the lake,  

 

Except in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

 

There was an old Indian trail going all the way around the lake. Even though most of the lake shore properties are privately owned, they have a public easement for people hiking on the trail around the lake.

 

But since the easement only covers the trail, hikers must stay on the trail. They can't stop to picnic or fish. They can't use private piers and docks. They can't cut across yards to enter or leave the trail. They can only enter or exit the trail at public access points.

 

It is a fun hike. I've done it with my scouts.

Edited by David CO

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I like the idea of a usage/enforcement agreement between the town and camp. $10K for a survey? I would have settled for a $2K usage fee to the camp.

 

I believe state law allows passage by foot to an inland waterway but not vehicle access over an owner's road.

 

IMO this boat ramp has become a "thrifty" alternative to public boat ramps for a fee at nearby state parks.

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Except in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

 

There was an old Indian trail going all the way around the lake. Even though most of the lake shore properties are privately owned, they have a public easement for people hiking on the trail around the lake.

 

But since the easement only covers the trail, hikers must stay on the trail. They can't stop to picnic or fish. They can't use private piers and docks. They can't cut across yards to enter or leave the trail. They can only enter or exit the trail at public access points.

 

It is a fun hike. I've done it with my scouts.

Sorry for the confusion....  Public access is not automatic if the land surrounding the lake is a single owner.  Multiple owners is a whole different ball game.  Then public access completely around the lake is required, thus the trail is public access and the lake is controlled by the DNR, not a single owner.

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