WHEN YOU COME TO A FORK IN THE PATH,
Fortunately, the citizens living around Geneva Lake are on the way to getting injunctive relief from the organization threatening to devastate the very existence of the lake shore path. This threat is currently coming from what is called the Muck-Suck Race, planned to be run on Memorial Sunday. Almost everyone knows and acknowledges that Geneva Lake’s shore path is a special treasure unique to the Lake Geneva Community, and that it is to be used as a walking path by citizens and visitors who come to share the good fortune of its beneficent existence. It is not intended, nor was it ever intended, to be commercialized by any entity, like ‘My Team Triumph’ and its planned “Run-for-Fun” Muck-Suck Race.
There have been abuses in the past, to the detriment of the path and the private property of the lakeshore home owners. Some abuse has been tolerable, but the level is certain to escalate if it isn’t stopped now. Allowing one destructive commercial event to take place (by making no effort to prevent it) opens the possibility for a relentless stream of other such damaging events to follow. Lakeshore owners accepted the fact that they were waiving some property rights, plus a degree of privacy and security rights, when purchasing lakefront property with the shore path running through it. Nowhere in the shore path perceptive easement, however, does the agreement say, or give, someone else the right to abuse the property it runs through. To allow abuse to continue with such blatant commercial and exploitive intent, as the Muck-Suck event, will jeopardize the very existence of this treasured path, and also harm the image of the communities located around it, as being friendly and welcoming.
In the effort to preserve and protect the shore path, a highly rated team of attorneys was found that best fit the needs of the community and the property owners for representation it in court. A small group of Lakeshore owners agreed to sign an application for an injunction, and to be part of a defensive shore path protection group. Jack Goggin, president of the Geneva Lake Association and Jim Smith (Executive Director) joined the legal planning meeting and announced, at that meeting, that the GLA was backing the group and agreed to not only sign onto the injunction effort, but to donate $5,000 to that cause. The Geneva Lake Association (GLA) is the only Geneva Lake organization representing a high concentration of lakeshore homeowners who have the shore path as part of their property.
The GLA has, from its founding, taken on the mission and the responsibility of protecting both the Shore path and the property rights of the landowners and the communities living around the lake. For over fifty years the GLA has published, produced, and maintained the signs that display the shore path rules in over twenty locations around the lake. These rules date back to the perceptive covenants of 1910 and 1913 that regulate the residential lakeshore and the Shore path to this day, and go all the way back to the agreements made by the founding families who settled the lakeshore in the 1870’s.
The Muck-Suck people behind this planned running event no doubt believe that the end justifies the means, because their purpose is to raise money for a good cause. The organizers probably feel they have righteousness on their side, despite potentially violating the rights of the property owners in undertaking an event that is certain to damage the land. It is going to take a community effort to stand up for, and protect, the path and everyone’s property rights. Retaining a legal team, and filing for injunctive relief is a good start, but this cause needs more lakeshore homeowners to join the effort, and to become co-plaintiffs in the injunction that will be filed in the next few days. Anyone from any community living around Geneva Lake and enjoying the lake shore path can, and should, contribute to the legal assistance fund. If you are part of one of these Geneva Lake communities and want to help then email Dick Malmin at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 847-791-9130. Dick Malmin has volunteered to help lead this movement.