All lakes in Wisconsin are the property of the state.
The lakes cannot be owned by any municipality or individual, so there is no legal way to prevent anyone from entering or using the lakes, nor could any charge be levied by any private citizen or municipality to control the use of it. Lakefront owners own and control the land up to the water, but by Wisconsin State Law, each municipality is required by the state to have a public boat access point (launching site). Legally, local entities cannot stop anyone from putting a boat on the lake at those launch sites. They can, however, restrict car and trailer parking that can quite effectively accomplish the same purpose.
What lakefront property owners possess is something called riparian rights that give the owner of the land, contiguous to the lake, equal rights to the reasonable use of the water so long as it doesn’t hinder other riparian right owners of their right to use the same water. This is the argument first used against Pollard Construction when it was offering “Lake Access Rights” to all 400 plus members of Symphony Bay (the big new development on Edwards), which would infringe on the riparian rights of other lakefront owners in Buttons Bay. The Pollard outfit then dropped the use of lake access in favor of Club Memberships, while, at the same time advertising about the ability of Symphony Bay vacation home buyers to be a member of the nearby Boat Club.
The Boat Club is part of the Boat House Restaurant next door, not part of the Symphony Bay operation of club membership. It all seems a bit deliberate in its confusing presentation. Mike Lazzaroni owns the property that the Boat House/Boat Club leases. Mike’s had serious problems keeping a successful restaurant business operating at that location because of the off-season doldrums. When Mike was presented with the possibility of a combination restaurant/boat sales business, he probably thought he’d finally found the right opportunity to solve the problem of constant turn-over of lessees. A group of local residents went to the public hearing of Town of Linn’s plan commission to support that rezoning request, despite some misgivings and opposition by the Geneva Lake Conservancy that the area was already overcrowded with boats. Mike received Linn’s endorsement, as long as certain conditions would be adhered to, and then Mike went to the county to get formal approval. The county has yet to hear the case or render an opinion about whether the entire plan will be allowed to proceed.