Fundraising and blockades: why Lindenlure has become a closed battleground

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LINDEN, Mo- The Lindenlure access of the Finley River had seen generations of river-goers until spring 2020 when property owners closed the only public access point in that area.

Mike and Carla Adams live in Nixa but own property along Canyon Road, the main road to get into Lindenlure. The couple decided to put up a gate and concrete blocks to close off access to the public. This action has caused an uproar from those who visited the popular swimming spot for decades.

Carla Adams told Ozarks First Tuesday afternoon they put the gate up because they were tired of people littering, drug and alcohol abuse, and other factors with having it open to anyone. Carla says the gate is on their property, so they are allowed to put it there. The couple has family members who live on Canyon Road just off of State Highway 125 and Carla says the relative was also tired of traffic issues and finding drug paraphernalia on the road.

Access to Lindenlure is now closed

Carla said she and her husband are not trying to be mean because they have young family members who would enjoy swimming there, but, she says, it has gotten too dangerous for that to happen.

One of the many patrons of Lindenlure is David Romano, a professor at Missouri State University and the creator of a GoFundMe account to get the area back open.

“It’s for paying the surveyors and the lead lawyer. We want the lead lawyer going full steam on this,” says Romano.

The surveyors will help determine if the gate is actually on the Adams’ property or county property. The lawyer is to take legal action against the Adams family if necessary, Romano said. 

“It’s not clear that the Adams family, which put the gate up here, actually owns this portion of Canyon Road, and it takes a surveyor to pull that out,” says Romano. He says previous Christian County leaders said the Adams family did not own that part of the road; they said it was public property or didn’t know who owned it.

Romano shows map detailing property lines about where the gate is. The red area is the Adams family property. The red circle is where the gate is.

“Even if they do own it, which is yet to be determined, there’s a public access easement of 100 years to this point, and so the public will still have a right to pass through,” says Romano.

Lindenlure has been through this battle before. In 2012, homeowners and the public debated on if the area was public or if people were trespassing. Residents in the area then had the same complaints as the Adams family. But Romano says to think of it like living near a public park such as Phelps Grove Park in Springfield.

“I kind of think they don’t like lots of people coming here. It’s like if you live by a public park, if you live by Phelps Grove Park, people are going to come, right? You know that when you buy the house, that’s par for the course,” says Romano.

He understands the litter issue and mentions that there is a Finley River cleanup Facebook group with people who want to help maintain that area by working with the residents to keep it clean.

Romano hopes to have the access point open by the 4th of July and to work with the Adams family and the Christian County Sheriff’s Office for patrolling and ways to cut down on littering.

“The answer is not stopping all of these families from coming here where they have some of the fondest memories of their childhoods. This is a treasure of the Ozarks, there’s been people swimming here for 100 years, it’s got a history,” says Romano.

Romano says it will take the surveyors about a week to figure out if the gate is on the Adams family property or not.

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