Mike - thanks for the info and for the work y'all are doing on one of my favorite rivers. It's great to hear that this structure is going to be rebuilt and, as a sissy who flinches at the thought of going over a drop like that into concrete rubble and rebar, I'm really looking forward to running that stretch more regularly after they do the work.
My point was that there's been an easement for scouting/portage for well over a decade and that AHRA appears to have been unaware of it.
Here's the pertinent part of an email chain I once had with Jason Robertson when he was still Access Director at AW. Jason brought some long-time Ark River boating community players into the discussion to help answer questions I had. Jay Kenney weighed in with some very helpful info about easements and access on the Ark including this nugget:
...As for the case a few years ago, Pat Tooley and I represented a boater who got out to scout the dam below the BV ballfields. They were ticketed for trespass, but our research discovered there's a public easement for recreation along the dam's edge. Case dismissed. That means it is OK to scout that dam from river right (river left is private).
This exchange is from 2003 so the easement was there for a long time before AHRA purchased the property. If Kenney and Tooley indeed determined that there was an easement sometime around 2000 or earlier, it makes me wonder why the easement was never recognized or publicized by the managing agency, especially with the dam's history as a hazard.