Business owners have mixed feelings on open waters law – South Dakota News

Business owners have mixed feelings on open waters law – South Dakota News

Thad Duerre, center, talks to a group of South Dakota legislators on his Day County farm during a stop on a bus tour of nonmeandered lakes in May. Farm Forum Photo by John Davis

by Elisa Sand
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The owners of Lynn Lake Lodge near Webster are glad legislators passed a law regulating nonmeandered waters, but the owner of Sportsmans Cove sees potential problems.

During a special session on June 12, state lawmakers passed a law that declares nonmeandered waters as open unless property owners post them as closed.

It also identifies 27 specific nonmeandered lakes that are again open to the public. And it gives landowners the right to petition the state Game, Fish and Parks Department to close portions of those lakes.

The law expires June 30, 2018, which means legislators will revisit the topic during the 2018 session.

Nonmeandered lakes are those that have developed in recent years and decades, generally the result of flooding on private property. Some have public access ramps set up by GFP. The ramps were roped off earlier this spring after the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that neither the landowners nor GFP had a superior right to allow access to the lakes. Justices ordered the Legislature to address the problem.

With the new law, GFP is reopening the 27 nonmeandered lakes, one of which is Lynn Lake in Day County.

Paul Johnson, co-owner of Lynn Lake Lodge near Webster, said that he and his wife, Karen, are happy there’s now an answer to the question about lake access.

“It should give people enough confidence to come back to South Dakota,” he said.

Karen Johnson agrees the law…

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