We may be losing access to Oregon rivers SB 293 [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: We may be losing access to Oregon rivers SB 293

04-25-2003, 02:41 PM
On other boards this has been discussed and wanted to bring it here. There is another hearing 4/30 room HR D
Senate Bill 293 abstract is below:


04-25-2003, 03:10 PM
April 25, 2003
Jim McConnaughey
(Rights reserved. Please feel free to publish this wherever you feel it may do good.)

Notice to All Oregon Recreational Rivers Users and to Any Individual or Business Who’s Livelihood Depends Directly or Indirectly upon Recreational River Use in Oregon

Senate Bill 293, sponsored by Senator Ferrioli and currently in committee, seeks to side-step federal navigability laws--the very laws that made the waterways public--in an attempt to “eliminate conflict between recreational users of waterways and riparian landowners”. The bill calls for the creation of a single pilot program that could be used to manage all of the state’s waterways and that could ultimately be applied to the Willamette and Columbia rivers as well. This management plan would be funded by users fees and also provide compensation to landowners for vandalism. Further, there is a provision in the bill that could open the door for private clubs to close off large sections of public waterways to the public.

Bottom line this bill would forfeit public ownership of the river banks to the adjacent landowners. Not only would the people of Oregon just give away their land but they then--in turn--would be charged to access the rivers!

Behind this bill are the Cattleman’s Association, Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregon Realtors and several groups of landowners--and their entourage of lobbyists and attorneys. Currently opposing this bill are the Northwest Steelheaders and a few private citizens. We are outnumbered and outfinanced!

Since the founding of our nation the US Congress and the Supreme Court have held that waterways belong to the public. Further, if a river is considered navigable (and this is the key to it all) the public owns the river bed to the common high water mark. Rivers have been deemed navigable (and the decisions upheld by the Supreme Court) if floatable by a craft as small as a canoe or kayak. Even if a property owner has a deed showing ownership to the middle of a river (in a few rare cases) it is erroneous. You can’t claim title to what is already owned by the public--nor demand compensation for the loss of this property.

Not that recreational users haven’t contributed to the problem. There is an ever growing problem of littering, vandalism, drunkenness, illegal fires etc. It is a minority of users whose irresponsible behaviour greatly effects the mood along our waterways. However, one can’t legislate common sense and decency.

Senate Bill 293 seeks to avoid the expense and time of federal courts and navigability studies. It seeks a compromise between landowners and recreational users. It presumes the riverbanks are private property and not held by the people. It is legislation for the benefit and profit of a small group at the expense of most Oregonians. These are our public waterways and the legacy we pass on to the coming generations. Let’s insure that future Oregonians aren’t locked off their public lands and left high and dry.

04-29-2003, 12:40 PM
We've also built a quickie website. Please email (y)our reps! If you're not from Oregon, you're a potential tourist!



04-29-2003, 01:45 PM
Who are tthe authors and sponsers of this bill. Let's vote them out of office!!!:whoa:

04-29-2003, 05:38 PM
JD, you're a soon to be Rogue Valley Oregonian, right? Your reps are:

sen.jasonatkinson@state.or.us and


There is also lots of great additional updated info on the website. We've got a team dedicated to it now...

04-29-2003, 07:53 PM
You can count on me to give these rascal's a hard time.:devil:

04-30-2003, 10:53 AM
I may be a little off on this one since it has been a bit since a civics course but doesn't federal law always trump local law? I thought states couldn't pass laws that directly confilct with federal law?

I know this came out of some conficts on the Deschutes at south junciton if I hear right but this is ridiculous. Rivers were never meant to be owned and that is the way things have been set up in this country.


04-30-2003, 12:34 PM
You are correct iin thinking federal law does take precident over state law. However, that doesn't stop these bast&^#s from passing conflicting and unconstituional laws. The second amendment is a good example. They pass the law and it sticks until someone succesfully challenges it and wins.

If I had my way, those who author and vote for laws that are later ruled unconstutional, would be tried for treason and hanged! :devil: