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New Posters About Public Rights on Rivers

October 22, 2013
New Posters About Public Rights on Rivers

Happy fall to you from Team NOR!

New posters! Build awareness of your rights by hanging them up!

The new poster, “Public Rights on Rivers in the United States,” is now available for free downloading and distribution, in print and by e-mail. There is also a handout version. These resources discuss public rights to use and access rivers for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, duck hunting, and other nondestructive river recreation.

October is a great time to post and distribute these materials, so that people will see them during the holiday season, and will have time to review and discuss them during the colder months when there is less river activity. Hang these up in public places where other river users will see them! Get creative about how to spread the word about your river rights.

There is also a poster and handout specifically for Colorado, a state in which disputes about public rights on river have been heated in recent years. Other specific states will be covered in future posters and handouts. Your donations and memberships help fund the research of these future state-by-state handouts and posters for all 50 states!

If you live or travel in one of the mountain towns of western Colorado, now is a good time to hang up the poster on bulletin boards in outdoor stores, fly fishing shops, community centers, supermarkets, public parks, town squares, college campuses, and other public locations. It’s also a good time to give a copy to county sheriffs and other law enforcement officials. There is no need to ask for responses from sheriffs and officials at this point—just let them study the poster on their own time.

What the posters and handouts cite

The posters and handouts do not repeat the usual claims of lawyers for riverfront landowners, to the effect that public rights on rivers would have to be decided by state courts or state legislatures. Instead, they cite numerous U.S. Supreme Court decisions and Acts of Congress to show that rivers that people typically use for raft, kayak, or canoe trips are navigable for Commerce Clause purposes under federal law. These rivers are subject to the federal navigational easement, including public rights to scout rapids from shore, portage around rapids, and fish from the gravel bars and banks along these rivers.

The purpose of the posters and handouts

Of course, some riverfront landowners, their lawyers, and their supporters in local and state government will disagree with the message in the posters and handouts, but that’s the point: To give river users tools to use for dialog with local and state government agencies, in order to reconfirm public rights on rivers in places where they are doubted or denied.

The handouts are ready to print on letter size paper. The posters come in two different versions, one for legal size paper and the other for 11 x 17 paper. The 11 x 17 version can be printed out at office supply stores or photocopy centers.

The handouts and posters can also be e-mailed to the directors of kayak clubs, college outdoor programs, government agencies, and reporters for local newspapers and other media.

You can see the posters and handouts now by clicking here. 

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