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Happy Holidays!

Hope things are warmer where you are, here in Colorado we are being hit with snow and very cold temperatures! Hope the info below warms your spirits :D

We are excited to announce a free sample of the book, Public Rights on Rivers: Canoeing, kayaking, rafting, fishing, and fowling rights, river conservation and water rights, is now available for download. See the attached pdf, or click here. The book sample is 23 pages long, and discusses the following:
  • The table of contents and the types of questions the book answers
  • Ancient uses of rivers
  • River law in ancient times
  • River uses in North America
  • River law in ancient North America
  • River uses in colonial America
  • The founding principles of American river law
  • River uses in the early 1800s
  • The development of river law in the early 1800s
The sample helps outline the progression of river uses and law through history, and sets the stage for Supreme Court cases and rulings that follow. The rest of the book focuses on the application of the law, including basic principles of water and river law, which rivers are navigable for which purposes, public recreation rights on rivers, and the role of state law.

We hope you benefit greatly from this information. The good news is: your rights to fish, paddle, and walk along the banks of navigable rivers has been confirmed repeatedly by the highest law in the land, the Supreme Court and Congress. Thanks for supporting the cause for rivers to be "forever free." Enjoy, Happy Holidays!

Best,

Team NOR
 

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Hi NationalRivers,

To answer your question...

Actually, no-one can answer that question from the material presented in that file. It's a table of contents that apparently has a couple mis-labeled page numbers and some aggregated historical info.

It provides absolutely no clue as to how your organization has assembled and analyzed actual legal information to support your position. And importantly, there's no specific information at all about the cases you rely on to bring you to your conclusions. Didn't you figure out from your last foray here that it was going to take just a bit more than this to effectively communicate your views?

So I have a question instead.

Have you provided any of the lawyers here -- those who requested it -- with a copy of your work so they can give it a fair and complete review?

If there's real substance to your work product, you would get support here. But you have to make your case in this arena -- people aren't going to just fall in line mindlessly.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 

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...We are excited to announce a free sample of the book, Public Rights on Rivers: Canoeing, kayaking, rafting, fishing, and fowling rights, river conservation and water rights, is now available for download...
Team NOR
Thanks NOR for you dedication to this. Many of us in the boating community appreciate the work done by those advocating freer access to waterways. Please keep it up.
 

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I am glad to be in Oregon. I rarely have had a land use issue here. People are pretty accepting, and I make it a point to respect land owners here. I used to run lots of weird little rivers and creeks where it was unlikely that the land owners ever saw kayakers. I was always friendly when I saw people and I didn't get mad when a farm dog came after me. As a result, I've never been trespassed, threatened, or even have felt unwelcome. It's sad to read about some of the river access issues discussed on the Buzz.
I used to be an off-roader, but one of the things that soured me was land use issues. I think it's pretty easy for us as boaters to limit our impact on the land. Off-roaders cause damage, no matter how well you follow Tread Lightly's rules. I know many people put great effort into limiting their impact on the land and repair what gets damaged, but the simple fact is, truck trails cause damage. There are more rivers than there are places to take Jeeps in Oregon.
 

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don't bogart that
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Thanks NOR for you dedication to this. Many of us in the boating community appreciate the work done by those advocating freer access to waterways. Please keep it up.
X2

Lets not be pulled down by the troll, optimism, it what makes the great things in life possible:grin:
 

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I don't think Rich is trying to be negative, but National Rivers doesn't tell the full story. Take for example Colorado. There is a good summary of the relevant issues here:

American Whitewater - access:co

This is the state of Colorado river access law as I learned it in law school.

You are right that these old SCOTUS cases state that where a river is navigable for title purposes the area up to the high water mark is owned in trust by the people. The step that your analysis ignores (at least the analysis that I have seen) is that the state courts have concurrent jurisdiction with the federal courts to determine what is navigable for title purposes. In People v. Emmert, which is discussed in the link above, the Colorado Supreme Court held that the Colorado by Glenwood was not navigable for title purposes. This has led most to conclude that no rivers in Colorado could be considered navigable if the largest riverway in the state was not navigable.

I should mention that I think the Emmert case is wrong. I think, in keeping with your analysis, that the Colorado river is navigable for title purposes under the generally accepted test. And I think that if this issue went to the Colorado or US Supreme Court again you might see a different result. However, Emmert is the law as it currently stands here in Colorado.

The fact is that the public's right to access and float rivers in Colorado (and a handful of other states) is unclear. This is the reason there was a push to codify the public's rights on rivers in the state legislature a couple years back.

Your group has clearly done a lot of great work putting this together, and this book is a great resource. I fully support the overall goal to promote full and free access to rivers. But it doesn't help our cause to overstate our legal rights. I think it is more important to have a river community that is knowledgable and fully understands the issues, than to have a community that just blindly asserts rights without fully understanding the nuances involved.
 

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Hi,

I want to add that you westerners aren't the only ones with this problem.

I live in Illinois, where most boating folks who follow this issue firmly believe that the State has adopted a position on river access that is clearly unlawful. The problem is that there is no boating organization with the financial resources to pursue a case all the way to the Supreme Court, which is what it would take.

I dearly wish that Eric's case was as powerful and persuasive as he claims. It might embolden the Illinois Paddling Council or some other organization to take the state DNR to court.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 

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NOR replies to the above:

People are already using NOR materials to confirm public rights on rivers, in Illinois and elsewhere. Check out the blog about a fishermen in Illinois who used NOR materials successfully in three different situations, involving trespassing claims as well as government regulations, at A fisherman. Note that he is not waiting for the Illinois Paddling Council to take the state DNR to court, which would be foolish and unnecessary. NOR has sent a review copy of the book and other materials to the lawyers who requested it.

If you enjoy kayaking small rivers in western Colorado, you can use the book, handouts, and posters in a similar way, to dialog with landowners and sheriffs about public rights on rivers under current federal law. You don't need to wait for the state legislature to confirm your rights, because rivers that were navigable in the past for log drives, and are navigable today for kayaking, are navigable for Commerce Clause purposes under federal law, so the public has an easement under federal law to navigate, scout, and portage on such rivers, regardless of who owns the bed and banks of the river under state law.

Whether the river is also navigable for title purposes is important if you are taking sand and gravel from the riverbed, or if you find gold nuggets in the riverbed, but does not matter for purposes of the public easement to navigate and walk along the banks.

Under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, state court decisions such as People v. Emmert do not apply to the extent that they conflict with current federal law. Which rivers in Colorado are navigable for Commerce Clause purposes, or title purposes, and public rights to navigate and portage on these rivers, are matters of federal law, not Colorado state law.

BrianK says that American Whitewater provides a "good summary of the relevant issues" on the web page he cites. That page says, "It is unclear what test of navigability applies in Colorado, as no state statutes or regulations define or describe such a standard." The test of navigability for Commerce Clause purposes that applies in Colorado, as in other states, is a matter of federal law, not a matter of state statutes, regulations, or court decisions.

Rich Phillips seems to be saying that "what it would take" to confirm public rights in Illinois (or Colorado) would be "a boating organization with the financial resources to pursue a case all the way to the Supreme Court." This is a common assumption among river users, but is mistaken. The U.S. Supreme Court has already confirmed public rights on rivers, in all states, numerous times. River users can use NOR materials to dialog with landowners and state law enforcement officials now, rather than waiting for new reconfirmation of the same legal principles.

NOR agrees that is is important to have a river community that is knowledgeable and fully understands the issues, rather than blindly asserting rights. It's also important to not have river users and organizations blindly denying public rights on rivers, based on what riverfront landowner lawyers widely proclaim. The book (not just the sample) discusses public rights on rivers in detail.
 

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Hi Eric,

"NOR has sent a review copy of the book and other materials to the lawyers who requested it."

I'm eagerly looking forward to hearing from them.

But I still need some help understanding why fishermen know about your stuff, but not the Illinois Paddling Council. If your materials are so compelling, why are organizations like the IPC not using them to open rivers like the Vermillion (one of the few rivers here with even a tiny bit of whitewater), which was totally closed to boating for several years over jurisdictional issues after a drowning.

There was lots of discussion on the Chicago Whitewater list (over a long time) on that closure and the negotiations that finally resulted in it being reopened. Everyone agreed that the river should be open under Federal slaw, that the state law was in conflict, but that litigation would be needed to force DNR to comply. Not once was your material refernced. Any particular reason?

Just asking...

Rich Phillips
 

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Under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, state court decisions such as People v. Emmert do not apply to the extent that they conflict with current federal law. Which rivers in Colorado are navigable for Commerce Clause purposes, or title purposes, and public rights to navigate and portage on these rivers, are matters of federal law, not Colorado state law.
All well and true. But the state court decision will be applied in Colorado until somebody decides to challenge the state court holding in a federal court. It's not the job of the federal judiciary to seek out state laws that conflict with the U.S. Constitution; it requires litigation for the federal judiciary to overturn the Colorado Supreme Court holding in Emmert.
 

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All well and true. But the state court decision will be applied in Colorado until somebody decides to challenge the state court holding in a federal court. It's not the job of the federal judiciary to seek out state laws that conflict with the U.S. Constitution; it requires litigation for the federal judiciary to overturn the Colorado Supreme Court holding in Emmert.
Hi Marko,

You've essentially summarized our situation here in Illinois. The combination of agency inertia, entrenched interests, and our present legal environment produces a situation where no-one is going to fold on these access issues just because you wave a book in front of them. Would that it were that easy...

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 

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I don't want to keep arguing the point because we are very close. Like I said, I interpret these cases the same way you do. I think the SCOTUS cases justify the public's right to access these rivers.

Practically, it doesn't necessarily work like that. Take the Emmert case. (I read the case a few years ago so some of these facts might not be exact.) If I remember right there were two guys cited for criminal trespass on the Colorado river. One just paid the fine, but Emmert challenged the case the whole way.

He was found Guilty at trial, his Guilty verdict was upheld in the Colorado court of appeals, then the his Guilty Verdict was upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court. (I don't know if he applied for cert with SCOTUS) Fact of the matter is he went through the legal process and these courts decided he did not have the right to float through private land. Our appointed judges reviewed the law, and found that rafters who floated through private land and touched the river bed were guilty of trespass.

Criminal law is state law, and if this situation came up again you would have to deal with Colorado Courts interpreting Colorado Law. And, as it stands now, right or wrong, Emmert is the law in Colorado. Part of the beauty of this country is that erroneous decisions like Emmert can be overturned. But until someone actually litigates the issue we just don't know.
 

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National Organization for Rivers (NOR) replies to the above:

Regarding what the Illinois Paddling Council uses in its river access efforts, the book Public Rights on Rivers is new, so now that it is available, NOR invites organizations such as the Illinois Paddling Council to use it to re-open rivers like the Vermillion more quickly.

Regarding the Emmert case, David Emmert mistakenly claimed that the Colorado River (between Parshall and Kremmling) is not navigable for any purpose, yet he claimed the right to fish on it, based solely on a passage in the Colorado state constitution saying that “the water of every natural stream” is “the property of the public.” The court ruled solely on that specific claim (as courts usually do,) holding that this passage in the state constitution, by itself, does not confirm public fishing rights. (The court did not review federal law, as BrianK seems to assume.) The decision did not deny public navigation and fishing rights on any rivers in Colorado that are navigable under federal law, nor could it, because state courts do not have that authority. (Emmert did not appeal to federal courts.) You can read more about this on the free NOR handout and posters, “Public Rights on Rivers in Colorado.”

That stretch of the Colorado River, and the other rivers in Colorado that were usable in the past for fur trade canoes or log drives, and are usable today for commercial raft trips or kayak or canoe classes, are navigable for Commerce Clause purposes under federal law. No further court confirmation is needed. The beliefs voiced by BrianK that “it requires litigation for the federal judiciary to overturn the Colorado Supreme Court holding in Emmert,” and “until someone actually litigates the issue we just don't know,” are widely promoted by lawyers for riverfront landowners, and are believed by many river users, but are mistaken. Where state court decisions conflict with current federal law, federal judges don’t need to overturn them state by state. For example, “Jim Crow” decisions were “still on the books” in southern states until quite recently, but were not followed, even though federal judges did not overturn them state by state. In a similar way, people are running rivers in Colorado through private land every summer, even though the Emmert decision is “still on the books” and has not been specifically overturned by a state or federal court.

Perhaps a generic example, based on real-life experience, would help. Suppose you enjoy kayaking (or fishing) on small rivers in western Colorado, such as the Taylor, Elk, Conejos, Animas, Piedra, and San Juan rivers, which flow through a patchwork of public lands and private ranches. Suppose a Dallas real estate developer buys one of the ranches, and, citing the Emmert decision, he strings “No Trespassing” and “Keep Out” signs on a fence across the river where it enters the ranch, as well as “Keep Off River Banks – Private Property” signs where there is a necessary portage midway through the ranch.

Suppose you meet with him. Using NOR handouts and posters, and the book, you show him that:

1. The river is navigable under federal law, for Commerce Clause purposes, because of its historical and current usability. No official designation is needed, because rivers that are navigable in fact are navigable in law.

2. Public rights on the river are not a “taking,” because the river has been public since time immemorial, and there is virtually no chance of him getting any compensation for public use of the rivers, because there is no known case of a court awarding compensation to landowners for public uses of rivers.

3. It is a federal crime to block the river with cables or fences, so he is subject to criminal prosecution at any time, as well as immense liability if a kayaker gets killed or injured on his fence across the river.

4. The Emmert decision did not deny any of the above, nor could it—state courts don’t have that authority.

At that point, the landowner may realize that it’s more trouble than it’s worth to dispute public rights on the river flowing through his land (even if he doesn’t say so right then—it may take more than one meeting.) Suppose you hold a similar meeting(s) with the local sheriff. Sheriffs have discretion regarding what to enforce. Sheriffs in a number of places around the country, after seeing detailed information about public rights on rivers under federal law, have replied to telephone calls from riverfront landowners by saying something like, “Call me back if the river users start snooping around your barn, but as long as they are on the river, or along the edge of the river, don’t call me.” Suppose this sheriff does the same, sooner or later. (Indeed, it may turn out that this sheriff is ALREADY answering landowner calls this way, unbeknown to river users.)

At that point, it doesn’t really matter who all prepared or reviewed NOR materials, and it doesn’t really matter that no court has specifically overturned the Emmert decision. All that matters is that you can get back to doing what you like to do: Kayaking (or fishing) on rivers, including rivers that flow through a patchwork of public and private lands, and including scouting rapids and portaging where necessary. THAT is the goal of the National Organization for Rivers.

Merry Christmas.
 

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If you enjoy kayaking small rivers in western Colorado, you can use the book, handouts, and posters in a similar way, to dialog with landowners and sheriffs about public rights on rivers under current federal law.
I think that is a great idea, but it might not always work out that way. SO what do you do when a landowner, or sheriff, doesn't care about your neat little NOR handouts and has you arrested for trespass? What do you do when a wealthy landowner uses his clout to test the issue of navigability through litigation on a creek that might not meet the federal test of navigability?

You don't need to wait for the state legislature to confirm your rights, because rivers that were navigable in the past for log drives, and are navigable today for kayaking, are navigable for Commerce Clause purposes under federal law, so the public has an easement under federal law to navigate, scout, and portage on such rivers, regardless of who owns the bed and banks of the river under state law.
And what about the creeks that do not meet the federal test of navigability and do not have an historic use of log drives, or other forms of commerce? Because if you suggest that fur traders navigated their canoes using Cheeseman Canyon, or log drives were sent down Lime Creek, you are going to get laughed right out of your negotiations. And what do you do when a state enforces the closure of a creek because it has been deemed non-navigable? Do you write a strongly worded letter to the state Attorney General using NOR material and then hope he listens to you?

Unfortunately, the federal definition of navigability does not apply to a huge majority of the steeper creeks in this country. And in order to expand the right to float on these exclusions will require legislative action and litigation. If it were such a cut and dry issue, then why are there still streams and creeks closed to public access all throughout the country? And why do states have differing definitions of navigability and differing requirements under state law? (Laws which are being enforced right now, and are not dormant like old southern Jim Crow laws). It's mainly because the enumerated powers of the Constitution only go so far to protect your right to float on any river you want in this country.

The US Constitution is about 21 pages long, and the Colorado Constitution is about 800 plus pages long. Why is that? Because the states have the authority to afford its citizens a greater protection of rights. Do you know how that happens? It doesn't happen by "wait[ing] for the state legislature to confirm your rights." It is very rare for a politician to just decide to grant rights to citizens all by themselves; it happens by the people engaging their state legislators to create those rights. And the judicial may help further expand our right to float on all waterways when the laws are tested for constitutionality. For ex: CA's navigability test was decided in People v. Mack and held that "the public has the right to navigate below the high water mark on rivers which are capable of being navigated by small recreational craft." CA's test of navigability goes much further than the right protected under federal law, and would be the ideal model for recreational boaters. And it should be something that all states should seek to adopt. But, to make that a reality will require litigation and legislative action.

Your idea that individual boaters can use your NOR material to negotiate with landowners and sheriffs beyond the legal system, for rivers that clearly meet the federal navigability test, is a great idea. I think in many cases you can create great results with this tactic. However, as a political scientist in training, and one who works in the state legislature, I think using the legislative and judicial branch to secure the right to float on creeks that do not meet the federal navigability test is absolutely necessary.

Right now, there are hundreds of individuals and organizations that are using a tactic known as "field testing." They continuously create local ordinances and state statutes that push the limits of constitutionality in the hopes that it will make it to the US Supreme Court. They have multiple cases going at once, and they argue each one in a different way. The Court may strike down one, but uphold another, and bit by bit, they create new laws and policies. You can guess that it is the wealthier individuals who have the time, energy and money to use this tactic. THIS is how things get done in this country. This is how you use the legal and political system to get the rights you want. These people don't waste their time citing old case law and sections of the Constitution in private negotiations; they use the legislative branch to create the laws they want, and then cite case law in the judicial branch to argue why its constitutional.

So, what if one day this tactic is used to expand the private property rights of wealthy landowners at the expense of our right to float in areas that are not protected under the federal navigability test? It is going to require much more than citing case law in private negotiations to counter them; it is going to require us to counter them in the legislative and judicial branches.

And, what is to say that We as boaters can't use this exact strategy to expand our rights to float? We can, and should be, using this tactic. This is how the civil rights litigators expanded rights to minorities. This is how the cannabis industry has started to break down old prohibition laws. So, again, the idea of buying your book to help deepen boater's knowledge, and negotiate with landowners on rivers that are easily within the federal navigability test is a great idea. For that, I wish you well on your endeavor to sell copies of your book and help raise awareness about river rights. But for the cases where there is not a clear legal precedent set we will need to do much more to secure our right to float. And that is why I support American Whitewater!



BTW - You are kind of straddling the line between raising awareness and private gain... so you might want to consider in the future posting your business enterprise material in the commerical posts section where the other business enterprises post their business related spam.
 

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BTW - You are kind of straddling the line between raising awareness and private gain...
he's also straddling the line between legal and illegal since he claims to be a non-profit 501(c)3 ....but isn't. eh, that's actually pretty firmly on the illegal side when you are out fundraising as such.

basically, there is zero accountability to where and how any donated funds are used by Eric /NOR unlike a real,legit and legal non-profit.

ZERO.

The other point is if you donate expecting a tax deduction then.... well good luck with that. you,eric and the IRS can sort that gem out.


NOR...it doesn't exist........
 

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All this stuff that Eric's talking about really riles me and I figured out why.

It's as if we're all trying to arm ourselves to protect our rights and Eric's walking around telling everyone he's got the magic bullets that'll win the battle. But really all he's got is blank ammunition that to a lot of enthusiastic laypeople who badly want it to be real, the blank ammunition looks and feels like the real thing and seems like it would make the victory easy to achieve.

But it's still just blank ammunition and won't help to win any real battles at all. Also, the defeat we could suffer from trying to use Eric's blank ammo in a real battle could be so resounding as to make future battles all that much harder to win.

And in the meantime, it's just diverting us from real truths about what the law really says and how to go about making progress.

-AH
 

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The Jackson River in Va would like a word....as it seems the crown's grants section of the write up directly conflicts recent litigation successfully convicting boaters/fishermen of trespassing on the riverbed.

I spend alot of time in rural WV fishing small mountain streams for trout and let me tell you that a good ole boy that wants you "outta his stream" will a) not give a hoot about any paperwork I present and b) always be carrying a shotgun.

Putting eric's "generic example" to test with a real world issue that I saw myself in Colorado...where I saw a fence accross and no trespassing signs on the bank of the North Fork of the So. Platte. Are you saying that it is only so becasue it has not been challenged??

I agree with Andy H. in his assertion that these issues must be approached very carefully so not to backfire on the boating/fishing community.
 

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Need Some Help

Hi Eric,

I need a little help.

Your web site says, "NOR is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and contributions are tax-deductible in the United States." A couple of posts up, there is a screen shot that seems to suggest otherwise.

What's the scoop?

Rich Phillips
 

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NOR replies to the above:

The National Organization for Rivers (NOR) is telling river users to avoid getting arrested, but to dialog with sheriffs and landowners about public rights under existing federal law. We’re saying that it could take time, and more than one meeting (or interaction by mail or e-mail.) NOR operates at a loss to provide free information about public rights on rivers, and is applying for renewed tax and legal status, originally obtained in 1979. People can, and have, successfully used print-outs from nationalrivers.org in river rights disputes, without paying NOR anything, which is okay.

Marko says that the federal test of navigability “does not apply to a huge majority of the steeper creeks in this country,” and he mentions the American Whitewater website, which likewise says that “most whitewater streams” do not meet the federal test of navigability. This echoes what lawyers for riverfront landowners have widely proclaimed, but federal law says that rivers and creeks with “numerous rapids, waterfalls, and boulders” are navigable, because they were usable in the past to transport logs, shingle bolts (4-foot sections of logs) and railroad ties, and because they are usable today for commercial kayak classes. (See footnote 1 of the free handout, Public Rights on Rivers in Colorado, at National Organization for Rivers, and Chapter Three of Public Rights on Rivers, “Which rivers are navigable for which purposes.”)

The federal tests of navigability involve whether the river or creek could have been used for transport in the past, not whether it was actually used. Whether a particular river or creek could have been used for transport in the past can only be verified by people with river expertise, not by lawyers who don’t have such expertise. You can increase your expertise in this area by seeing historical accounts and old photos of the transport on rivers and creeks of logs, shingle bolts, and railroad ties, on the top floor of the Denver Public Library, and in local libraries in western Colorado and other states, (as well as in Public Rights on Rivers,) and by kayaking the rivers and creeks that were used for such transport. You will find that rivers and creeks that you would want to kayak were indeed usable for such transport. Then you will be more prepared to counteract the people who claim that rivers and creeks usable for kayaking are not navigable under federal law.

Marko says that the California state test of navigability “goes much further than the right protected under federal law.” Again, this echoes what lawyers for riverfront landowners typically claim, but the rivers and creeks that you would want to kayak are already navigable under federal law. It’s nice that California state law reconfirms that, but it also applies in other states, including Colorado, without state by state confirmation.

Marko then says that “using the legislative and judicial branch to secure the right to float on creeks that do not meet the federal navigability test is absolutely necessary.” When you think about it, it’s only necessary if there are creeks that are good for kayaking, yet do not meet the federal test, and it turns out that the creeks that are good for kayaking meet the test already.

Marko also says that wealthy people are using “field testing” to “create the laws they want” through litigation and legislation, and that we as boaters should use that same strategy to expand our rights to float. The difference is that we already have the right to kayak on the rivers and creeks of the nation that are usable in the ways discussed above, so it doesn’t make sense to try to create new law. Instead it makes sense to educate river users and government agencies about existing law.

Marko asks what if one day, in the future, wealthy landowners successfully use legislation and litigation to deny public rights on rivers. In order to change the federal test of navigability, they would have to convince five out of nine U.S. Supreme Court justices to reverse centuries of existing law on the subject. That’s possible, but unlikely, and the best way to help prevent it from happening is by spreading the word that existing federal law confirms public rights on rivers usable for kayaking, rather than by proclaiming the false notion that it does not (as Marko, and other people, are presently doing.)

Andy H. says that we are “all trying to arm ourselves to protect our rights,” and NOR resources are “blank ammo” that could cause a resounding defeat. People have already successfully used, and are using, NOR resources in public rights battles, and will continue to do so. The U.S. Supreme Court decisions cited in NOR resources are true, and there’s no reason to think that continuing to use them will result in a resounding defeat. Instead, it’s likely that continuing to use them will result in cumulative victories, which in turn will break down resistance to public rights in the remaining places. In many places, government support for the notion that river use is trespassing is a mile wide but an inch deep. Once river users document federal law in favor of public rights, many people in government are willing to set aside notions that river use is trespassing. Consequently, it turns out that river users who claim that federal law does not presently confirm public rights on rivers are using the “wrong ammo,” in counterproductive ways.

2kanzam asks if the fences and no trespassing signs on the North Fork of the South Platte (in the mountains southwest of Denver) are there only because they have not been challenged. When river advocates take time to show those landowners that they are subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability for their fences, the fences will probably come down (or break during severe weather and not be replaced.) Regarding the Jackson River in Virginia, the fishermen there have not claimed their rights to fish under existing federal law, so the courts have not confirmed them.

Those of you who would rather kayak (or raft, fish, or canoe,) rather than further debating about your rights with other river users who mistakenly claim that river use is trespassing, can deliver the present NOR handouts, which are available at no cost, to your local sheriff, landowners, government agencies, and legislators, and post the present NOR posters at your local supermarket (and e-mail them to river users and government agencies. See National Organization for Rivers.) Now is a good time to distribute them, so people can consider them without the urgency of current river use, and it would be good to distribute them again in the spring, as actual river use resumes.

In other words, you can help win this thing, despite the denials of your rights coming from lawyers for riverfront landowners, as well as from a number of river users such as those quoted above.
 

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Hi Eric,

So, quietly buried in an early paragraph of your long and typically gauzy post is this clause, " NOR ... is applying for renewed tax and legal status..."

You say you're in the process of applying for the tax exempt status that your web site plainly states is already in place. As in, "NOR is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and contributions are tax-deductible in the United States."

Aren't you worried that you've rather openly admitted you may be violating one or more Federal/state laws?

Just asking...

Rich Phillips
 
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