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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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    Jun 2019
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    Default Re: Does the Owner of a Lakebed Own the River That Feeds It

    OK so my post did get lost I'll try again.

    buwad has the history of Luxton Lake correct. Hey man who are you and how did you know all that?

    The dam was dynamited in 1981 and the lake drained leaving the river as before. The community unsuccessfully sued a construction firm for breaking the dam. The lakebed went to tax auction a few times and in 1992 was bought by the current owner.

    Regarding the easement all deeds in the community have this language:

    All that parcel of land < description of parcel being purchased >

    TOGETHER with a perpetual easement in and to Luxton Lake for all purposes of fishing, boating and bathing over and upon the "Beach and Recreation Area" as shown upon a map entitled "Lakeridge Estates" filed in the Sullivan County Clerks office on November 5th 1981 as Map no 887.

    TOGETHER with the right to keep and maintain a boat on Luxton Lake.

    TOGETHER with the right the use the "Clubhouse" described on a map of "Lakeridge Estates", subject however to an annual fee payable to the seller herein or to a Homeowners Association to be formed for the purpose of maintaining said recreation area and clubhouse < description of fee >.

    The use of the Clubhouse shall be at the sole option of Davis and Pearl S. Hunter and they have no obligation whatsoever to join the clubhouse.



    I think Davis Hunter owned the lake and surrounding land at this point, 1981, prior to the draining and subsequent tax foreclosure. I need to get this map 887 to see what "Beach and Recreation Area" refers to. It may refer to a 30+ acre strip of land along the western side of the former lake which Hunter called "community land". I'll attach a link to a map in a following post. I don't see a way to upload images that aren't from a website.

    My questions are:

    1) what do our easements to the "Beach and Recreation Area" mean today?

    2) what rights do we have to the river which now flows through the privately owned lakebed?

    I don't think Ten Mile River is legally navigable. Parts of it are very deep with wild rapids - there have been a number of drownings at boy scout camps - while other parts of very shallow and narrow. But it has "protected" status in NYS whatever that means. We do still fish and canoe the deeper parts here, even though the lakebed owner opposes it.

    To be fair here, she fought hard to get the dam rebuilt in the 90s and was treated badly by the community. I don't blame her for feeling negatively toward some of them. I also share my alma mater with her!

  7. #7
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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.

  8. #8
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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.

  9. #9
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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.

  10. #10
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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.

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