If all the existing trails, trails under construction and trails in the planning phases in Duluth aren’t quite enough, here’s a rather ambitious plan that would upset a few local backyards. The Detroit Free Press reports of a plan for the “Great Lakes Trail” — a 10,900-mile trail spanning at least eight states and two Canadian provinces, following the shores of the five Great Lakes.
As the Great Lakes states were admitted into the Union, the federal government granted them the lake beds and waters of the Great Lakes up to the ordinary high-water mark — from the point on the bank or shore where continuous wave action has made a distinct mark, to the water.
This was affirmed by a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1894, in the Shively v. Bowlby case. The justices found that lands below the high-water mark were “for the benefit of the whole people.” (This may come as news to owners of $750,000 lakefront homes whose deed tells them the shoreline is theirs.)
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