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MNpurple

Accessing land locked lakes?

13 posts in this topic

My neighbor just gave me his Carstens Pintail duck boat, no charge, he just doesnt use it anymore and its in real good shape. So now I am trying to figure out where best to use this thing. There are a number of small sloughs and wetlands around me that are completely surrounded by private property except that a portion of the water comes right up to the road edge. You've got the road and then the ditch leads right down to the slough. Am I legal to park along the road and slide my duck boat down into one of these sloughs (obviously while never beaching it onto dry land and staying farther than 500 feet from buildings or livestock). How far is the road right of way from the center of the road where I can legally be without it being considered tresspassing?

Many of these have alot of ducks on them in the fall and now that I have a craft to access them, I'd like to take advantage.

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It might be easier to just ask the landloard for right of way. He / she might not even hunt, and appreciate the fact you asked. I know is many cases you can technically get on the water, but parking becomes an issue, and once the shoot starts, it only wrecks the morning to have someone upset.

Another option

You can check out the counties web site. See if they have a online GIS (Geographic INformation System) map. Then bring up the aerial photography, along with parcel data. It is pretty easy to identify county owned parcel,and potential hunting spots.

Or use google earth maps, and a plat book

Swill

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You had better have your ducks in a row when accessing water from the right of way, or you will be in for s visit from the sherrif gaurenteed!

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Short answer is probably yes. For instance if there is a culvert under the road and you can go directly from the road into the water you are probably OK. I hunted this way in the LeCenter area for a number of years.

The really technical answer is it depends on whether the roadway is government owned or merely an easement. If it is only an easement then the private owner technically owns the land under the road and has granted the public the right to use the land for tranportation purposes.

It would be just about impossible to scope this out. Swill's advice of talking to an adjacent landowner would be a good idea. You may not technically need permission but you may avoid a hassle if you at least advise them of your plans. I guess the other thing to consider is the size of the water. The local guy may think it's his private pond if it's really small.

Things may be different on opening morning. I drove all the way to LeCenter one year only to get there and find a half dozen trucks already there. It was a 150-200 acre slough and that was just too crowded for me. Had to scramble to find an alternative.

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If you are considering the Butternut area, do not even think about accessing the land without permission. Also, 2 large ditches that run into one of those lakes are actually private. The farmers paid for them years ago to drain farmland and the County/Public has no legal recourse over it. Someone tries every year to float it and every year the sherriff gets called and is waiting for them with the tresspass citation.

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If it is a public road it should be at least 33' from the centerline, but check with the county to be sure.

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If it is a public road it should be at least 33' from the centerline, but check with the county to be sure.

Right, and if the average high water mark(not sure of technical term) lies within that right-of-way, you're good to go, even if the actual water is lower than that.

Good Luck!

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The framers of our preserved rights of water use in Minnesota intended for the natural resources to be available to all. They had no way of predicting the urban sprawl and the litigeous nature of our society today. Therefore,they failed to write farsighted legislation to protect the access to these waters that they faught hard to protect. But the intention is as clear today as it was then.

Lakes and streams should have public easment for access. It should be taken through fair easments so the original intention of the legislators who protected our rights to use the land is preserved.

Thoughts to the otherwise usually boil down to selfishness or closed minded matters of practicality. Hans

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The way I read the book if the water line meets the downward slope of the ditch, or falls inside the right of way, or runs under the roadway, you can access that water. You just need to make sure your truck is outside the white lines when you park, and not on someone elses land.

I have had the sherif called on me a time or two. When it comes down to it and you show them the page in the hunting regs book, it usualy works its way out without a ticket. When it comes to being ticketed, I ask to see the gamewarden. Often times he will say access was leagal based on the way the page in the regs book was written.

Just remember, getting shot at or having a homeowner blaring music or terring around on a wheeler because you are in a slew and he dont like the wayy you got there is hunter harrasment and they can then be ticketed.

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If water/cattails come within a stones throw of the road ditch, and that road is not a Minimum Maintenance Road (and therefore potentially private) I would have no hesitation of hunting it from a boat.

Lot of dbags out there who think they own public water--I know I've done my part to set as many as I can straight but I'm sure there are plenty of 'em I haven't educated yet. Get out there and have fun!

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The framers of our preserved rights of water use in Minnesota intended for the natural resources to be available to all. They had no way of predicting the urban sprawl and the litigeous nature of our society today. Therefore,they failed to write farsighted legislation to protect the access to these waters that they faught hard to protect. But the intention is as clear today as it was then.

Lakes and streams should have public easment for access. It should be taken through fair easments so the original intention of the legislators who protected our rights to use the land is preserved.

Thoughts to the otherwise usually boil down to selfishness or closed minded matters of practicality. Hans

Well put Hanson! Lucky for us Minnesota has some of the most liberal water rights regulations in the nation. We were lucky enough to have folks that fought for water rights like the late DNR commissioner Joe Alexander.

These days the times are a'changin. Waters are becoming more impaired, habitat is disappearing, and the general populace is either ignorant or apathetic about water quality and water use issues.

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was out fishing today on a couple lakes and also scouting for hunting spots...came across a nice point perfect for a NW wind and it contained ample vegetation to conceal our boat blind. The water was plenty shallow quite a ways out for decoys as well. Looking closer I noticed some bozo had built a "private" blind there and posted it with "NO TRESPASSING" signs. This thing was so far back in the weeds that there is no way he could see a landing duck let alone shoot it. I'm fairly certain the blind was not on dry land, meaning it would be fair game for anyone setting up there...and even if it was (couldn't get close enough to check) there would be absolutely nothing stopping anyone from setting up in front of it and hunting legally.

I plan to do just that this fall and when I'm out there if the blind is not on dry ground I will be disassembling it (assuming the birds are not flying) and bringing it home for a bonfire!

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Ask your area CO. They usually know most of the bodies of water and the roadways. Generally, if your boots are wet in a right of way you may proceed. Or if you have permission on one property you may navigate to all adjacent areas. Bring your cell phone and the CO's number with so when you get confronted the person can talk to the CO before he ruins your hunt. Most people are uninformed as to navigation rules.

I got this info from a post on another board a while back.

"DNR information to common water access questions:

Who owns the bed of a lake, marsh, or stream?

When a waterbasin or watercourse is "navigable" under the federal test, the State of Minnesota owns the bed below the natural ordinary low water level (see Minnesota Statute 84-032; Lamprey v. State, 52 Minn. 1981, 53 NW 1139 [1893]; and United States v. Holt State Bank, 270 U.S. 49 [1926]). The federal test used for navigability is: "when they are used, or are susceptible of being used, in their natural ordinary condition, as highways for commerce, over which trade or travel are or may be conducted" (see State v. Longyear Holding Co. 224 Minn 451, 29 NW 2d 657 [1947]). If a court has found that a lake is non-navigable and meandered, the shoreland owners own the bed of a lake in severalty (see Schmidt v. Marschel., 211 Minn 543, NW 2d 121 [1942]). If a stream is non-navigable but has been meandered, the shoreland owners own to the thread (centerline) of the stream. If a lake or stream is non-navigable and not meandered, ownership of the bed is as indicated on individual property deeds.

What are riparian rights?

Riparian rights are property rights arising from owning shoreland. They include the right to wharf out to a navigable depth; to take water for domestic and agricultural purposes; to use land added by accretion or exposed by reliction; to take ice; to fish, boat, hunt, swim; to such other uses as water bodies are normally put (see Sanborn v. People's Ice Co. 82 Minn 43, 84 NW 641 [1900] and Lamprey v. State, 52 Minn 181, 53 NW 1139 [1883]). The riparian owner has the right to make use of the lake over its entire surface (see Johnson v. Seifert 257 Minn 159, 100 NW 2d 689 [1960]).

What are riparian duties?

It is the duty of the riparian owners to exercise their rights reasonably, so as not to unreasonably interfere with the riparian rights of others (see Petraborg v. Zontelli, 217 Minn 536, 15 NW 2d 174 [1944]). They cannot dike off and drain, or fence off, their part of the waterbody (See Johnson v. Seifert). It is a public nuisance and a misdemeanor to "interfere with, obstruct, or render dangerous for passage waters used by the public" (see Public Nuisance Law, Minnesota Statute 609.74).

What are public rights?

Where the public is a riparian landowner, such as when a public road abutts the water or at a public access, the public has riparian rights. (See Flynn v. Beisel, 257 Minn. 531, 102 N.W .2d 284 [1960].)

Additional information

Minnesota case law has established that a public road abutting a body of water gives the public riparian rights to the water. Riparian rights exist whether or not the lake is navigable or public and regardless of who owns the bed. Riparians are entitled to exercise their rights over the entire surface of the lake. One riparian cannot keep others from using all of the lake. Where access to a "wetland" is available from a public road, Minnesota Statutes Section 103G.235 provides the following: "In order to protect the public health or safety, local units of government may establish by ordinance restrictions upon public access to any wetlands from city, county or township roads which abut wetlands." In all other cases (i.e., state or federal roads abutting "wetlands" or any public road abutting a "public water"), the public has the riparian right of access.

Trespassing on private property

The belief that the state owns a strip of land around all Minnesota lakes for public use is absolutely false. Riparian property (property abutting a lake, river, or wetland) is either privately or publicly owned. The general public can access water bodies or watercourses via public property, but not through private property. Individuals entering private property without permission from the landowner are trespassing and may be prosecuted under the state trespass laws. It is illegal to trespass on private property in order to gain access to a water body or watercourse without first obtaining the verbal or written permission from a landowner.

DoctorB, that was an excellent post. Riparian rights refers to flowing water(river or stream). Littoral rights refers to non flowing(pond or lake). That's straight from the MN real estate licensing guide. All rights are pretty much the same for both riparian or littoral landowners with a few variations.

A comment on CrappieTom's post, a dock is NOT private property once it's put on the lake. Then it's public. The state does this to protect the landowner from liability. You can actually pull up to any dock, get out of your boat, and fish on the dock. If the landowner gives you any hassle, you can have him or her charged with harrassment under the MN harrasment laws.

Huskies, the realty term is Reliction or dereliction, and when a body of water recedes gradually, the landowner aquires title to the newly exposed land.

I'm not one to fight with a landowner over a bass under his dock, There's plenty of water & I'm there to relax, but if they're gonna be an A$$ about it, they better know what they legally own

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