And above all DON'T LITTER! I know most of us are dedicated "leave no trace" folks, but there are sure many paddlers who aren't. It even behooves us to pick up after them if only to improve paddler relations with landowners. Fire scars are pretty bad form also.
As an aside, and a tangential, but interesting, issue that has been brought to my attention lately... stream-wide strainers.
We'd all, I think I'm safe in saying, prefer not to trespass on private lands to get around these even when state's laws expressly allow it. So you take a small handsaw to clear a path - no more - through the small branches of a fallen tree. Wouldn't you do the same on a road or sidewalk following a storm if the road crews hadn't gotten there yet? I think of it as neighborly cooperation and almost a civic duty in that situation. And the situation on a navigable waterway is very similar if travel is allowed on it, wouldn't you think?
From what I'm hearing here in this state, that's apparently not so. The tree, dead or alive, is the property of the landowner who's roots its on and he doesn't have to clear it up if he doesn't want to, even if it is blocking a public right-of-way like a stream. And we have no right to make a cut on his tree even if it is down and blocking a public waterway. We could be considered vandals and charged for doing so.
Seems like a pretty Draconian way for a modern government to address an ancient and common travel situation. Apparently liveries and other businesses can cut downed trees if it can be argued that it affects their business in some way, but we as simple travelers on a public right of way aren't allowed to.
Now isn't that an odd twist in a country with a history of pioneering and regard for the rights of the individual such as ours?
Water laws, as I understand it, are some of the first laws on record anywhere. Again, as I understand it (and like most of us my understanding is decidedly limited), one of the main reasons China first consolidated a formal government, one of the earliest, was to regulate water usage and travel on it. Water laws made a nation out of a bunch of tribes.
Yet here we are, thousands of years later, with "gray areas" in water laws that a truck could be driven through.
If not water travel rights, can anything ever be really decided legally?
Kayak & Canoe Outriggers
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