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Old 06-16-2010   #1
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 39
river access question

Alright, I'm confused about the issue of river access where a public right of way (road/bridge) crosses a river in an area of private land. Usually these r.o.w.'s are wider than the actual road itself by quite a few feet, and often extend well beyond the shoulder of the road. Can anyone tell me from a legal basis whether or not it's okay to park in the right of way (obviously in an area that's not posted against parking on the shoulder), take your boat off the car and carry it down the right of way to the water and launch? To me this seems no different than walking or riding your bike down the shoulder of a road, except you're going from the public r.o.w. to the river, and not touching any private property in the process (please ignore the rest of the right to float issues on this one). Logically it's always seemed to me that this would be okay, but I've had arguments with people that think otherwise and a lot of bridges around here are posted in a manner that would lead you to think that the entire riverbank, even the part of it in the public r.o.w. is private. Thanks, and we really need to get the river access/right to float fixed in this state.

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Old 06-16-2010   #2
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SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
After being turned down on access several times by landowners on a creek that was crossed by a state road bridge, I finally parked in a pullout nearby, carried my duckie out onto the bridge, lowered it to the water with a climbing rope, and rappelled down to it.

One of the ranchers who'd turned me down several times pulled up in his truck to watch, but didn't get out or harass me. When I was in my boat, he walked onto the bridge and waved, with grudging admiration. Then he said, grinning, "Okay, Slick! But if you cut any of my fences, I'll shoot your ass!"

I pulled my rope, coiled it, cracked a beer, and floated downstream, at peace with the world.
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