Are You Trespassing?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by LCnSac, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Nooksack Mac

    Nooksack Mac Active Member

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    If it seems that the laws, legal precedents, precedents, and beliefs regarding access to streams in the U.S. are confusing, contradictory, and in some cases irrational and unjust, it's because they are. Making public policy on these issues uniform and understandable is an ongoing process.

    It reminds me of Jim Crow law in the Southern states, a time and place in which I grew up. Institutionalized racial prejudice didn't disappear with the passage of major civil rights bills and constitutional amendments in the 1960's. The bigots kept on being bigots, and prejudice had to be beaten into submission, one court decision at a time. In places like Montana and Utah, a few troglodites are still trying to turn back the clock. Or as an old Western saying had it: "Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting."
     
  2. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    This word is the clincher "navigable" A lot of streams aren't that.

    I don't worry about stepping on others toes when I fish. Where I fish is usually in the National Forests in the small skinny water. There is so much water here in Montana that is free access that you don't have to step on private land to fish.
     
  3. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    More than you'd think. The waterways were the original highways. Goods and services depended on the waterways so if a trapper could carry pelts down or upstream to sell or trade them, the waterway was considered navigable.

    It doesn't take much water to negotiate with a canoe. This is what the OSU researcher found when he was checking the rivers in Oregon for historic navigability. Plus, if you can navigate the waterway no matter the time of year, this made the river navigable for the entire year. ...thus the reason for the high water mark notation.
     
  4. Steve Slater

    Steve Slater Active Member

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    Do you know if the OSU study ever published? If so, do you have the reference?

    Also, it might be cool to overlay the navigability data on to the massive new map of rivers that was just generated. http://www.somebits.com/rivers/rivers-leaflet.html That would create a communal understanding of what is navigable.

    Anybody have a few years to commit to the project?

    Thanks,

    Steve
     
  5. Brett Angel

    Brett Angel Member

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    If you're serious I'd be willing to donate some time. If you get the list of rivers I can do the rest. This could be done a lot quicker than you think. It would be a fun project with some real benefits.
     
  6. Kyle Smith

    Kyle Smith DBA BozoKlown406

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    It's weird to me that people want so much damned privacy. If a fellow fly fisher was wading through my ranchette, I would be excited to have a visitor, and might give advice on fishing my stretch of the stream.
     
  7. Steve Slater

    Steve Slater Active Member

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    I'm serious, but I think it is a pretty big project if we want to take this nationwide. But if we can get the Oregon data, that would be a great start. I'd definitely be willing to put in some time in this. I'm a biologist, not a programmer, so I'd mostly be able to help with research to collect the data. Might be worth contacting the engineer who originally put the map together to see if he has any interest in the project.
     
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  8. Kcahill

    Kcahill Active Member

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    Until he falls and breaks his ankle getting up on the bank on your stretch and files a lawsuit, or pees on your wifes vegetable garden while she is looking out the window, or catches 2 or 3 fish and shows up with 3 of his buddies the following weekend, who come back with 3 buddies each the next weekend...
     
  9. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    SteveS, I don't believe the study was officially published because it didn't turn out as the Oregon Legislature wanted it to. I seem to remember one of our river rights guys in The Great River Rights War found a copy of the study in the State Library.

    He found a mountain of data, going back to the early days, in regards to the continual river rights battles and the results. He found information that was news to the Governor and the State Representatives. They had no idea there was so much information in regards to river rights in Oregon. His findings were vital and helped swing the war in favor of the river users.

    Most of the original warriors of The Great River Rights Wars have moved on and no longer players (including myself... I was considered too hostile and therefore anti-productive :)) . Eventually, this group was formed to keep tabs on things. They're primarily on Face Book and I don't frequent FB but if you want more info as to the river rights battles in Oregon, this is the place to start.

    http://commonwaters.wordpress.com/
     
  10. Steve Slater

    Steve Slater Active Member

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    Thanks, Gene. We may be nucleating a little group to try this. I'll try to track down the data.

    Steve
     
  11. FinLuver

    FinLuver Active Member

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    That was too damn much readin'....and no pictures to boot!!;)
     
  12. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

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    So...I copied some of what Gene posted and made a small pdf file with the important parts highlighted. I plan to print one, plasticize it, and carry it with me. It is only about a half a page and could be useful when the sheriff shows up...:)
     

    Attached Files:

  13. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    This is cool news... sounds like Oregon has very similar laws to MT. Hats off to you and others who have done some heavy lifting to the benefit of many. I have been supporting and helping PLWA http://www.plwa.org/ for a number of years now since we own property and plan to retire there (though I'd do so even if we weren't...we just love MT). Utah has a large contingent also fighting for public rights to traditional high water mark access. http://www.takebackutah.org/ and they seem to be getting some traction. I've donated to their campaign even though I don't fish there. We can match them with sheer numbers if we all help a little.

    I encourage everyone who enjoys the access we have to spend some dollars and sweat helping out the few who do lots of heavy lifting on our behalf. GAT is correct... the challenges from the elitist property owners will not stop and can you imagine our fishing and hunting activity without access. GET INVOLVED!
     
  14. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    But, there could be more....much. much more. You should know better than most the constant push by land owners to fence and post access that is granted under current MT state law. I choose not to be complacent on this and think for a NY minute that the challenges to limit access will stop. Have you joined PLWA?...we could use the help.
     
  15. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    You will need a united front. In Oregon, we ended up doing battle with large and powerful organizations that included ranchers, farmers and the real estate industry.

    Our ace in the hole in Oregon was a gentleman who went by the moniker Scruffy Bearded Bandit. He was retired and spent many months in the Oregon library researching the subject of river rights. What he found was vital to our cause. At one point, one of the State Representatives who was supported by the land owners said he wished Scruffy was on their side.

    As he was retired, he had plenty of time for research. He uncovered previous battles between land owners and river users that set a precedent because the river users always won. Without his historic research in the subject, we would have been dead in the water.

    The Washington Constitution is kind'a vague in regards to river rights so you may need to rely on the US river rights. It covers all the States and may be used to "trump" a State legislature. The only rivers not covered by the US river rights are some back East that were owned by private parties before the constitution was written.