Pack away those dreams of walking miles from bay to bay along the shores of Lake Michigan this summer—unless you want to get wet, that is.

The public has the right to walk the Great Lakes shoreline, even along privately owned beaches. The United States Supreme Court reaffirmed that right on Tuesday. The court declined to hear an Indiana case filed by riparian land owners who live along the south shore of Lake Michigan.

Sometimes, when riparian landowners on inland lakes feel their rights are being infringed upon or they sense potential danger, they feel the need to call in the law. Most often they will call the sheriff’s department.

The Aug. 9 issue of the Glen Arbor Sun explored Michigan laws regarding public recreation and riparian (waterfront property owners’) rights on our inland lakes, rivers and streams. This article examines a few common misunderstandings relating to those confusing laws.

Where do the rights of boaters end and those of riparians—who own inland waterfront property—begin? The laws can be confusing, and it appears that many, including some law enforcement officers, might be misinformed.