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Indiana has the most generous rules for public beach access. Where does Illinois fall?

Chicago Tribune

Friday, March 15, 2019  |  Article  |  Tony Briscoe

 Illinois

Who owns what?

 

Private ownership extends to the edge of “water at a quiet state.” The state owns all land submerged in water.

 

Where is the public allowed?

 

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources enforces a “keep your feet wet policy,” but legal experts debate whether the public has a right of way up to the natural high water mark*.

 

Indiana

Who owns what?

 

Private lakefront property extends to the natural high water mark, and the state owns land below this threshold.

 

Where is the public allowed?

 

The public can walk anywhere up to the natural high water mark.

 

Michigan

Who owns what?

 

Private lakefront property extends to the water’s edge, while the state owns all land submerged in water.

 

Where is the public allowed?

 

The public can walk anywhere up to the natural high water mark.

Wisconsin

Who owns what?

 

Private ownership extends to the natural high water mark. The state owns land below this threshold.

 

Where is the public allowed?

 

Beachfront owners have exclusive rights to the water’s edge and the state DNR enforces a “keep your feet wet policy.”

 

*The natural high water mark generally means the place where lake waves have noticeably left an impression on the shoreline.