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  1. #1
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    Default Does the Owner of a Lakebed Own the River That Feeds It

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: NY

    I live on the former Lucky Lake in Sullivan County. It drained when the dam broke leaving only the Ten Mile River that fed the lake.

    One neighbor across the former lake bought the lake bed and is denying us access to the Ten Mile River even though all our deeds have easements granting access to the former lake.

    Does ownership of a lake bed also give ownership of the riverbed that fed the lake? And do existing easements to a lake become invalid when a lake partially drains?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Does the Owner of a Lakebed Own the River That Feeds It

    Quote Quoting arcticranger
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    Does ownership of a lake bed also give ownership of the riverbed that fed the lake? And do existing easements to a lake become invalid when a lake partially drains?
    Sorry, but that's for a lawyer to answer. You'll need one anyway so you might as well just find one who specializes in that area of law.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Does the Owner of a Lakebed Own the River That Feeds It

    This is a very complex issue as it involves various water rights issues and whether they can be redefined simply by the physical changes you have been given. I’m sure it isn’t an easy issue to address and likely costly to do so.

    anyway, I have a question: who did the guy buy the lakebed property from?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Does the Owner of a Lakebed Own the River That Feeds It

    Yes it's complex and even more so as the new owner has dredged her side of the lakebed to create a huge pond bordered by steel walls (it's a she). She did get DEC permit but there are now suspicions that she is redirecting the river. I'm trying to help the community unravel this mess.

    The prior owner was some corporation that bought the lakebed and the surrounding land after the lake drained. The current owner bought it from them at a tax sale so it may just be a quitclaim deed. I'd have to dig further to see who the corporation bought the land from and what kind of transfer that was.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Does the Owner of a Lakebed Own the River That Feeds It

    Wow..Thatís a heck of a story (the one behind lucky lake/Luxton lake)

    it was a man made lake, which means there was deeded ownership of the property prior to it being flooded. I have no idea of the actual status of the ownership once it became a lake but if it remained private (which I presume was the case), then those fee interests would continue. As such, it would be possible for a private individual to own the property and once the lake was drained, express control of their land.

    So, how is the easement written? What does it say to the rights of access and to what is it allowing access?

    Now, as far as the original river; this link gives a brief insight of the issues possibly involved.


    https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.nysapls.or...itto%20(1).pdf

    one important determination is that of whether the tenmile river is legally a navigable waterway.

    i can assure you I am not able to provide you with much of an answer but this is surely an interesting situation.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Does the Owner of a Lakebed Own the River That Feeds It

    Quote Quoting arcticranger
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    My question involves real estate located in the State of: NY

    I live on the former Lucky Lake in Sullivan County. It drained when the dam broke leaving only the Ten Mile River that fed the lake.

    One neighbor across the former lake bought the lake bed and is denying us access to the Ten Mile River even though all our deeds have easements granting access to the former lake.

    Does ownership of a lake bed also give ownership of the riverbed that fed the lake? And do existing easements to a lake become invalid when a lake partially drains?
    I agree that this is a complex issue that needs to be reviewed by an attorney. However, I will offer my opinion about the possibilities.

    I believe you are speaking of Luxton Lake within the hamlet of Narrowsburg and all originally owned by the Heubner family. In the early 1950's the area was subdivided and called Lucky Lake Estates. In early 1980's the NY DOC ordered the dam removed or rebuilt. It was removed leaving only the Ten Mile River running through the valley.

    So if your deed gives you an easement to the water's edge of lake Luxton, that is a Riparian right or at least a Littoral right and your access to the water doesn't change. It depends on where the water leve is. Now that lake Luxton is no longer you still likely have access to the Ten Mile River and your easement extends over the lands of the lake bed to the river.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Does the Owner of a Lakebed Own the River That Feeds It

    An easement is not a riparian right. It is a right granted by the land owner who (presumably) held riparian rights. Therefore, the rights afforded the easement holders may be meaningless regarding access to the water. It will depend on a lot of facts not the least of which is the actual verbiage of the easement.

    Also, your generalization of the rights remaining is an unsupported statement. We have no idea what the easement allows for. We also don’t know if the owner of the land abutting the lake, who granted said easement, is the same party who owned the lakebed. Unless the land was under the same title, it’s quite possible the op would have access only to the previously existing waterline. Again, facts matter.

    And littoral rights: really? I’m not even going to go there. A navigable flowing inland waterway and littoral rights? Um, ok.

    And yes, access to the water may very well change given the issue at hand or anything similar. It depends on the facts and at this time, there have not been enough facts presented to even venture a reasonable guess.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Does the Owner of a Lakebed Own the River That Feeds It

    Littoral Rights — Those rights and obligations that are incidental to ownership of land bordering on the shore of a sea or ocean and thus affected by the tide currents. Littoral land is different from riparian land, which borders on the bank of a watercourse or stream.

    Riparian Rights — Those rights and obligations that are incidental to ownership of land adjacent to or abutting on watercourses such as streams and rivers.

    And nobody where knows what rights were granted by the easement in question because not a word about it (other than an easement at least once existed) has been written in this thread.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Does the Owner of a Lakebed Own the River That Feeds It

    Just so you understand, most states have extended littoral rights to inland bodies of waters. Thus, if you have an easement to the water's edge in a pond (for example) and the level of the pond changes, you still have rights to the waters edge.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Does the Owner of a Lakebed Own the River That Feeds It

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    Why don't you shove your bloviating up your a**. You obviously don't understand littoral rights granted by easement. Littoral rights have nothing to do with navigable waterways.

    Troll troll troll. That is what you are.
    Yes, I do, at least better than you. Littoral rights do not apply to flowing navigable inland waterways.

    And unless the owner granting the easement owned the land that now abuts the waterway, they could not have granted access to the waterway across another’s property regardless of any rights they held.


    And your explanation is not one of littoral rights. It is still based on riparian rights. We aren’t talking about a static body of water such as a land confined lake or pond. It’s a river.


    Oh, and littoral rights aren’t granted by easement. Littoral rights are rights granted by law. The right rights granted by easement are not littoral nor riparian rights as the servient tenant cannot grant nor deny rights afforded by law to a specific class.

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