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Water trails meeting productive

March 27, 2015
Estherville News

There was a good turnout - along with a lot of good comments - at the Emmet County Water Trails Association landowners meeting Tuesday at the Estherville Hotel & Suites.

Landowners - deservedly so - were concerned about people crossing through their land and possibly trespassing. The short answer was that trespassing is illegal except for those rare instances when a person might need to portage due to a log jam or fence across a river.

People have a right to protect their property. That's a sacred right, and one to which all responsible persons must adhere. People who trespass can cause myriad problems. Just one example could be someone building a bonfire on private land that gets out of control and burns up an entire pasture or even a field. That would be tragic, and landowners most definitely have the right to be concerned about such a possibility.

One good fact that was brought up at the meeting was that the only property that is truly public would be the water itself. Riverbanks and riverbottoms are even off limits.

So how would a responsible canoeist or kayaker act? The sort of person of which landowners would approve?

Well, first of all, such a person would educate himself or herself about what is and what is not allowed when floating down a river. And again, it's only the water that's considered public. The riverbank may only be used when the river is blocked by logjam or a fence - or incidental use.

The responsible floater would refrain from camping or building a bonfire on private land and would absolutely never, under any circumstances, take anything from a private landowner.

A responsible floater would not hunt on private land nor would the responsible floater bother livestock.

In short, a responsible floater would use common sense and ASSUME THAT ALL LAND IS PRIVATE UNLESS OTHERWISE POSTED.

If everyone followed these rules, then everyone would be happy.



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