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Battle over lake access turns ugly


Call it The Hundred Year War, Northern Michigan version, one that is heating up and threatening to take casualties. Call it a spat between the haves and the have-nots.

Call it what you will, but the fight between waterfront property owners on Higgins Lake and those on the back lots is getting ugly and has far-reaching implications for the quality of life for many others as well.

Kathy Johnson's family has been enjoying the lake for 60 years. Now four family members have vacation homes in one of the subdivision just off the lake. They spend much of their summer up here, mooring their boats at a nearby road end. It's been a great lifestyle.    more...


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The movement my the HLPOA to close road ends can only be motivated by pure greed. I have been around the lake and have friends on the lake as well as in cabins as close to the lake as I park when I go to a Meijer store. My family has been one of the latter for more than a half century. Recreation at the lake is what has drivin people to invest in such properties. The HLPOA puts up a front that they are pro environment, when in fact they themselves do little to curtail rampant overfertilizing, and the use of outdated septic systems just feet from the lake, and likewise will not achnowledge that the majority of the traffic comes from state parks. I don't want to jump to conlcusions, however I would not put it past this group to commit acts of vandalism in order to portay road ends as choatic uncontrolable hazards, when in fact they are, and have been wonderfull places for families and kids to recreate free from exorbinant expenses, and the bustle of larger cities. These road ends have been vital to my quality of life since I was a toddler. I would not know my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins nearly as well if we did not have this common interest. It is clear (given that nothing was stolen) that the crime that occured this fall was either the result of a disgruntled anti backlotter, or that of they're kids, or passionate friends. Most backlotters I know have led less luxurious lives and appreciate what a priviledge this lake is to everyone who uses it. They take it very personally when those with the means attempt to disenfranchise them from the thing they work so hard all year to enjoy with they're friends and families. This is a story of the have lots and have littles. For many (not all) frontlotters it is not enough that they have they're space to recreate but they feel it is they're duty to make certain others don't. Sharing the lake it simply not something they are able to comprehend. It is a shame this fight has distracted people so much from everyones common interest... Good times, friends and family at the lake. Time to get back to basics and let each other live.11/6/2004 11:45:12 AM
For those of us who have an interest in a popular recreational lake such as Higgins Lake we can all agree on one thing and that is we definitely have an access problem. The road ends have served as a point where the local back lot property owners have moored their boats for over 100 years. The real issue here is NOT backlotters trying to "take public land for their own private use" I really have to laugh at that one because there has NEVER BEEN A CASE or LAWSUIT filed by a BACKLOTTER attempting to take or own a public road end dedicated to the use of the public for their own private use. In fact, the only individuals attempting to "TAKE PUBLIC PROPERTY" for their own private use are the front lotters in many areas around Higgins Lake that have filed law suits to try to take adverse possession of the road ends in an attempt to close them down permanently from the public and to also financially gain the prize of 10,000-12,000 per square foot of deeded real estate for them selves to boot at the expense of the public. NOW THAT is the real crime. Since the front lotters, or the front lotters that are members of the HLPOA, were unsuccessful in their attempt to gain adverse possession of the road ends they have come up with the clever arguement that select members of the public (backlotters) are taking public land for their own private use and are trying to close the road ends down to the public this way. The real crime here is the way that the HLPOA and their consituents bend the rules of our judicial system to try to benefit themselves and then turn around and blame it on the people of the public. The fact is that this organization wants the road ends and the lake for that matter as private, quiet, and secluded as they can get it and they will stop at nothing to get their way. The crime is NOT with the good people of the community who bought and paid premium dollar for their backlot properties around the lake because of their ability to utilize their community resource in a positive way to build some of the best memories of their lives. This wonderful resource is what has brought generations of families who have grown up running out the cabin door and down to the beach to play as innocent children with all the other children whether they are lake front or back lot making friends and simply having fun. We who reside in the Higgins Lake area as backlotters are only continuing the only way of life we know at Higgins Lake. The solution to the problem is NOT ELMINATION of the road end docks but simply REGULATION of them and this can be done with the cooperation of all parties involved and especially the local units of government who DO NOT SUPPORT THE HLPOA's intentions and want to be able to continue the historical way of life for the people who have been residing in the Higgins Lake area for many generations. So don't be fooled by the clever words or twisted argument that the HLPOA has created simply break it down and you will see that they are a group of GREEDY individuals who are disquising their personal interests behind public rights issues and thats the bottom line.2/17/2005 3:03:58 PM
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