Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Federal Judge Rules Boating and Fishing illegal

Finally today, Disturbing news reported by blogger Shupac from the Find the River Blog. It seems that a Federal Judge has ruled that boating or other forms of "trespassing" are illegal in navigable waters.

Judge Robert G. James of the United States District Court, Western Division of Louisiana, has said that it is criminal trespass for the American boating public to boat, fish, or hunt on the Mississippi River and other navigable waters in the US.
In the case of Normal Parm v. Sheriff Mark Shumate, James ruled that federal law grants exclusive and private control over the waters of the river, outside the main shipping channel, to riparian landowners. The shallows of the navigable waters are no longer open to the public. That, in effect, makes boating illegal across most of the country.

This is almost too absurd to be believed. But hold on, it gets much worse. Shupac also reports another disturbing trend:

Cyber acquaintances of mine from Tennessee have informed me that landowners there have recently had people who simply boated in front of their homes arrested for tresspassing--and this after launching from public ramps.

If this trend continues both recreational fishing and boating will be something only enjoyed in government owned parks or by those who have the funds to buy the land on either side.

Here is a link to the original report.

***Update: There is more to the story here than meets the eye. Here is an excellent discussion of this ruling from the Flyfishing Arkansas Forum. Be sure to read the posting by Zach Matthews of

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