Supervisors say Thornburg Lake Road is public

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 19, 2000

Nature and recreation lovers worried over future access to Thornburg Lake won a victory Monday at the Adams County Board of Supervisors meeting.

The board voted 3-2 to keep the much disputed Thornburg Lake Road — the only access to Thornburg Lake — as a right-of-way open to the public.

The road has been the center of a recent controversy with landowners wanting the road closed to prevent property damage and county residents saying the county has always maintained the road near Anna’s Bottom and want it open for fishing and recreation.

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Under state law, all Mississippi counties have until July 1 to decide which roads are public and which are private.

So during Monday’s meeting, the board also voted on all of the county’s some 550 roads, of which Thornburg Lake Road is the most disputed.

Supervisor Darryl Grennell was one board member who voted in favor of keeping Thornburg Lake&160;Road public.

The lake has always been a public lake created by the Mississippi River, Grennell said.

&uot;Therefore in my opinion it creates a public need,&uot; so the road should be public, he said.

Thornburg Lake Road is an unusual case because it and the lake — on which officials also do not agree on if it is public are private water — are surrounded by private land.

During Monday’s meeting Supervisors Virginia Salmon and Sammy Cauthen voted to declare the road private but Supervisors Grennell, Lynwood Easterling and Thomas &uot;Boo&uot;&160;Campbell voted against the motion.

Cauthen said he did not want to road to be public because he feared it could lead to a costly lawsuit by the landowners.

And even if the lake is public, you cannot get to it, without getting off the road onto private land, he said.

&uot;I know without a shadow of a doubt the popular thing to do would be to leave it a public road,&uot; Cauthen said &uot;But I don’t think it would be in the best interest of the county.&uot;

And Board President Virginia Salmon does not think there is a public need for the road because of the private land.

&uot;I cannot justify public need when there is nothing public at the end of it,&uot; she said.