SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Many Christian County residents are celebrating a judge’s ruling to open a popular swimming hole along the Finley River.
The Lindenlure access is on Canyon Road, just under the Highway 125 bridge between Ozark and Rogersville.
The judge ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs in this case and has given the Defendants, Mike and Carla Adams, 20 days to remove the concrete barricades and gate blocking public access to the popular summer spot.
The ruling comes after Adams placed a metal fence and concrete blocks on Canyon Road in March of 2020.
The main issue debated at trial was whether Canyon Road, which leads to the Lindenlure access to the Finley River, was public or private.
One of the many patrons and one of the Plaintiffs in the case of Lindenlure is David Romano, a professor at Missouri State University and the creator of a GoFundMe account to get the area back open.
Romano and others created the Finley River Access Coalition (RAC) shortly after the fence went up. The Facebook group quickly gained more than 3,000 members.
“The judgment gave us everything we were asking for,” says Romano. “We want this to be a good place for everyone; residents, members of the public who just want to benefit from the natural beauty that the Ozarks has to offer for everyone, not just a few.”
Evidence presented at the trial led the judge to determine Lindenlure had been used by the public for decades.
The judge also found Canyon Road had been maintained by Christian County for more than ten years.
Romano says Canyon Road dates back to the 1850s and photos show Lindenlure was a public gathering place as far back as the 1920s.
“We’ve got photos of 1940s cars parked under the bridge, 1970s, the hippies with their long hair all out by the water. This is a major part of this area’s history.”
Romano says the judge granted easements for both the public and nearby property owners that haven’t been able to access their land in more than a year in a half.
During the trial, the Adams claimed criminal activity and littering were rampant along this section of the Finley River.
Romano says now that the River Access Coalition has organized, he intends to have the group help out with keeping the area clean and safe.
“We do want to ask everyone out there to treat that right as a privilege. That means not littering when you come down here, picking up after yourselves and others, if necessary. It means behaving well and respectfully to everyone around here, including the residents.”
Romano says he hopes the Adams and other nearby property owners will be willing to reach out to the coalition if major issues pop up in the future.
“We hope they’ll maybe change their perspective and see this as having new allies in helping better manage this public access point that they live next to. We want it to be water over bridge 125 and move forward all pushing in the same direction by having a great river and public access point for everyone, residents and the public alike.”
Romano says anyone who wants to help with costs related to the lawsuit can donate here.