Private roads restrict access to Seven Mile Point: KNA

Photo from Keweenaw Real Estate At a recent Keweenaw County Board meeting, John Griffith of the Keweenaw Natural Areas group explained public access to Seven Mile Point is restricted because the road is privately owned.

EAGLE RIVER — John Griffith of the Keweenaw Natural Areas (KNA), explained at the December Keweenaw County Board meeting why Seven Mile Point, which the KNA owns, has restricted public access.

“I can explain that very easily,” Griffith said. “That is a private road. It was up to our group it would be open all the time, but once you leave Five Mile Point Road, it’s a one-mile private road to Sunset Bay, and there is another one-mile private road down to Seven Mile Point.”

Griffith said the KNA attempted to purchase the entire property in the mid-1990s, when Seven Mile Point was publicly accessible. Up to that time, he said, people used to reach a private property, put a dollar in a pipe, then from there, hike to the point.

“It was spectacular,” said Griffith. “Everybody did it.”

He said although the KNA attempted to purchase the entire property in question, it was not possible, and it sold to other parties.

“So,they pushed in a road in the mid-’90s. They put 24 lots in,” Griffith said.

The first 23 lots were 200-300 feet by 100 feet. Lot 24 is the point itself, which comprises 2.3 acres and 1,850 feet of lake frontage.

Failing to purchase the entire property, KNA wanted to provide at least some public access to the point, so the KNA Board met and decided to go ahead and purchase Lot 24, Seven Mile Point.

Before it could be purchased, however, the KNA had to get a signed letter from each of the other 23 lot owners to allow access to the private road.

KNA owns 32 acres on Seven Mile Point, which is a fraction of what the conservancy owns, Griffith said.

“All other 1,680 acres is open, free of charge, all the time. But that is the most public one, and I do get a lot of grief when I’m doing my social outreach, and I’m like, ‘No, no, no. We did the best we could.'”

The KNA Board was able to negotiate to allow the public to get to the point on weekends from May 15 through Oct. 15, with the permission of the lot owners.

“And that’s why it is restricted,” said Griffith. “It’s not on us.”