THE OUTER LIMITS
What strange “outer limits” kind of a thing is going on at the BigFoot confluence of beach and boaters?
The entire lake community is constantly, time after time, taken aback at the “community property” nature of the Geneva Lake itself. What belongs to whom? How far out does ownership of the lake exist for private and public landowners? If the lake water, beyond a few feet from the shore, is truly community property then how is it that the communities located around the lake can exercise police powers over people on top (or below, for that matter) the water? There is a whole small police force empowered to enforce laws out on the water. They ride around in small, almost make-believe, blue and silver boats.
The Water Safety Patrol, basically a bunch of licensed kids running around all over the lake in very expensive “patrol” boats while selecting who they might stop, or help, and then moving on. All at high speed, of course.
And then there’s BigFoot Beach and all of that. The beach is closed, supposedly by the DNR, the same DNR that has no beach personnel, or fencing or any of what’s up on that beach now to keep people (mostly the brown people) from congregating, in order to “save” them from the virus. Meanwhile, because of “community property” existing just beyond the beach extending a few feet out into the water, the “lighter” colored folk cavort and play inside and outside their expensive moored vessels. Who makes these lopsided rules, and then who enforces them?
The Town of Linn claims to own nothing of that small slice of sand. Lake Geneva claims the same. The State of Wisconsin claims nothing. It remains silent, as it is, after all, the state. Lake Geneva has had trouble every year with trying to regulate cars and heavy conveyances being allowed out on the ice of winter. One year twenty-some-odd cars went through the ice and that situation became international news. The police department claims, quite correctly and apparently, that it has have no jurisdiction out on the ice, nor can it do anything about vehicles that get out there from places on the lake where the entrance capability is not denied by chains or other fences (like is now done along the Lake Geneva shore during winter months). Enforcement can be performed out on the ice or water of the lake if such actions by a suspect violate state, county, or local ordinances, but those acts, in being enforced, must be witnessed before interdiction and any kind of hold put on potential suspects.
What is to be done about this poor state of “wandering” law affairs out on the lake? The creation of the Geneva Lake Use Committee was the answer to the questions posed by this situation, but that committee quickly had its legs cut off from under it when Jim Connors, Mayor of Lake Geneva at the time, sat in to make sure that the committee became toothless and powerless, which it did. The Geneva Lake Association under Ted Peters attempted to “move into a leadership position” by uniting all the communities around the lake to fight the advancement of the Starry Stonewort last year. That effort, on both fronts (pulling the communities together to act) and allotting plenty of money to fight the infestation, failed miserably. The lake continues to be a divided smorgasbord of weird occasional enforcement and even less common united action.
Until the communities’ around the lake decide to get together and actually take the water under control, there will be the continuing and rolling stupidity of everyone kind of doing whatever they feel like out on the water, or even in the shallows along the shore.