THERE ARE NO RULES!
The “Steeplechase” is on…
Planning for the upcoming race, called the Muck-Suck after the supposed name given to Geneva Lake by the Potawatomi Indians, continues on toward its Memorial Day start. The Lake Geneva City Council gave the promoters of the race permission to use a local city park to serve food and alcohol for the participants, while permission for the entrants to use the twenty plus mile around-the-lake walking path wasn’t necessary.
That’s right. The participants do not need any community permission. The easement through personal and community property allowed (two feet wide in most places) is not an easement granted by the local communities. It is an easement granted by the State of Wisconsin. The Department of Natural Resources could certainly step in, as the legal entity in charge of such things for the state, but it has already stated that it will not do so. The communities could barricade those parts of the property wherein runners would have to cross small stretches of community property (like Linn Pier Road in Town of Linn), but none of the communities want to take such action. It sets a bad precedent, and it also penalizes runners who’ve paid a lot of money to race, and who have no clue that there may be growing dissension about the effects of the event they are unknowingly and innocently attending and running in.
The Geneva Lake Association will not step in and do anything. They got together and wrote a “letter of condemnation,” which just ought to shiver the timbers of absolutely nobody. John Goggin is the attorney/director of the Geneva Lake Association, which is merely an illustration of how intent commitment to do nothing can play out as some sort of conservation and public trust action for the communities around the lake. That powerless group of onlookers will do nothing more to prevent the damage or loss of the path. And what’s coming down the road, once people figure out that this coming marathon can be conducted without any authority being able to tell them no? Rationally one might think that more organizations would figure that out, and then do the same thing. Oh, sorry, one already did.
This one is called the Wisconsin Veteran’s Outpost. They are bringing veterans in from all over to do a ‘walk’ around the lake on June 10th. That’s ten days after the groundbreaking (literally) marathon is run by the Muck Suck people. The Outpost is expecting thousands, and they already have a permit. If you think they won’t be racing, then you haven’t been on their Facebook page and watched the video they have up. They’ve already been on the path measuring it out and getting ready. And the guy heading up the race is calling the participants in the race “runners.” That was his word, not that of the editorial staff of the GSR.
An organization was restarted last year that could have taken on the task of getting all four lake front communities together to do something, but none of the four communities wanted the other three to be able to dictate or even advise on what was to be done in the future with their own lake front. The open and caring attitude of all the property owners, who years ago decided to allow an easement to be placed across a narrow ribbon of their land, has been lost in a modern era of selfish protectionist thinking and acting. The real likely damage that this series of races can be expected to cause is property damage, and liability potential.
The real damage to all who live and play around the lake will occur when the property owners use their great financial might to reconsider their previous generosity, and send attorney representation and lobbyists to Madison to get rid of the path altogether. The GLA (Geneva Lake Association) sent their tepid letter of “oh please don’t hurt me,” to the Lake Geneva Regional News and the Beacon. They wisely avoided sending it to the offices of the GSR. The GSR does not print wuss.