Originally Posted by Tom Martin
Attacking the messenger is a great way to avoid the real issue of commercialization of our western rivers.
I don't know where you see commercialization of our rivers in the statements above, as the topic at hand is river access and riparian trespass. Generally, my understanding is that outfitters and private boaters have a common interest in expanding riparian access rights.
Back to the topic at hand: unfortunately when the messenger is providing nonsense legal arguments that, while they may sound appealing and "official" to the lay public, are inappropriate and useless for actual advancement of the recreational access to rivers, then the messenger is actually doing the community a disservice. Leaper has no legal training yet he conjures up legal theory that can be picked apart by professionals in a matter of minutes. He has never provided any legal "peer review" of his pamphlets despite requests and subsequent promises to do so over the years. Then there's the matter of his questionable tax exempt status and his use of a legally defunct organization for his activities.
I've said before that I would love it if Leaper's arguments were as simple and as straightforward as he promises, and also that we have the same goal. However, as I have also said in the thread linked above:
Even if NOR decided to foot the bill for a test case, one thing to consider is that if the case fails because the architects tried to use a half-baked legal argument, that failure can actually set back the general cause of improving access when the judge nails down the decision so it will be more likely to survive any appeal. I'm not sure but I think Emmert may have worked like this. I've also heard a recent lawsuit challenging the Grand Canyon Management Plan was rebuffed so badly in court and on subsequent appeal that the decision may actually diminish the ability of citizens groups to challenge government agency management decisions in the future.
The analogy I've used before is that it's like NOR wants to marshal the private boating community to charge straight at our adversaries with weapons he's supplying. NOR is offering us sticks and rocks, and telling us our adversary has nerf balls and rubber dart guns. But in actuality, the adversary has 50-caliber machine guns and Howitzers. Would you follow NOR in that charge?
Furthermore, the misinformation NOR is spreading undermines efforts of legitimate river access organizations like AW. Uninformed boaters are lulled into complacently thinking it will be easy to overturn riparian access and trespass laws by simply using the tactics and precedents NOR advocates. At best those uninformed boaters may think we don't need AW or other groups to work for access, at worst uninformed boaters may conclude the inability of legitimate river access organizations to easily win a riparian access panacea means an organization has "sold out private boaters to the outfitters and landowners."
I agree with NOR's goals and their arguments sound great at first blush. What boater or fisherman wouldn't want what they're offering? Yes, Colorado and lots of Western states have screwed up riparian access laws, and we WANT to believe someone can lead us to a promised land easily. We want to believe we can just use these precedents, talk to the Sheriff, that navigable in fact is navigable in law in Colorado, and the other stuff. Unfortunately, merely wanting to believe something doesn't mean it can happen the way NOR is telling us.
A year ago [NOR] told us that a review copy had been sent to lawyers in post #8 here. We've been looking forward to hearing the review by people that actually practice law.
If boaters want to improve river access, support AW, they've been gaining river access for boaters for over a half century. If the tactics NOR advocates worked, AW would take NOR's playbook to court, mine it for the precedents Eric cites, and we'd all be better off. And AW, CW, and other river use advocacy groups have had attorneys who specialize in riparian access working on these issues for a long time - if it was so easy and clear cut, we wouldn't have trespass arrests on the Lower Blue. This whole thing is a diversion from the real issues, which are much more complex than NOR makes out.
If the message were valid, NOR would be welcomed with open arms. However he's only being a counterproductive distraction by spreading his bullshit legal theories to a hopeful constituency.
For anyone that wants schooling on the arguments for and against the case NOR presents, you may review vast amounts of back and forth consisting of 40 posts from December 2013 here
and 60 posts from December 2014 here
If, after reading all that, someone has a new and valid
approach to contribute that will advance boaters' river access rights, then you will find a welcome audience here.
In the meantime, please refer to the MB Community Rules
"Do not post libelous remarks or directly misleading information