At the Center
The Conservation Law Center provides legal counsel without charge to conservation organizations, works to improve conservation law and policy, and offers law students clinical experience in the practice of law and the profession's public service tradition.
Good News on the Lake Michigan Shore
The Center has been representing the Alliance for the Great Lakes and Save the Dunes in a lawsuit in which certain owners of lakeside property claim ownership of the beach of Lake Michigan right down to the water's edge. The trial court decided that it wasn't a proper forum to settle the ownership question, but affirmed our argument that regardless of ownership, any activity on the land in question must be consistent with the "public trust,"" a legal doctrine that is meant to protect the public's interest in the values of certain critical natural resources.
CLC Develops Model Indiana Wilderness Act Legislation
The Indiana Forest Alliance, with the support of State Senator Mark Stoops, requested that the CLC prepare model legislation for an Indiana Wilderness Act. The CLC drafted a bill that would require the department of natural resources to identify large, remote forested tracts of state-owned land and, in appropriate cases, to recommend such areas to the natural resources commission for designation as state wilderness areas. As defined in the bill, a wilderness area should be a tract of relatively undeveloped state land of at least 1,000 acres that has retained in significant part its natural forested character, and that presents outstanding opportunities for recreational activities such as hiking or camping. State wilderness areas would be administered and managed so as to preserve the wild character of the land, and any activities deemed incompatible with the protection of wilderness characteristics would be prohibited. The model legislation presents an opportunity for Indiana to preserve large wild tracts of land for the benefit of present and future generations.
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