Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Victory Against The Man

Score one for the little guy. The fat cats at The Spring Ridge Club, including such notables as Lefty Kreh, are crying in their single malt scotch today. A judge in Huntingdon County, PA has ruled that the Little Juniata river is a navigable river. This means that any old fisherfolk, even those without fifty grand to join their club can fish the river along their property. Horrors. There may even be folks who don't wear those stylin' sherbet colored fishing shirts within sight of the exclusive club. What will Skip, Chipper and the rest of the members do to cope?

An article is on the Post-Gazette's site.

Serves them right for not letting Teh Wind Knot have a complimentary membership. May be time to grab a can of corn and head on over.

Expect more lawyers, guns and money to be flung by the membership, but it is nice to have a small victory against the privatization of streams I don't own.


Anonymous said...

You people make me sick. Just because some people try to do something to protect their property and the resource you claim you have a God-given right to come in and trash everything. Perhaps if you spent more time at work instead of whining on the internet you might be able to own some land of your own someday instead of renting a trailer.

And no. I am not a member of the club.

matt_stansberry said...

Ha! TWK, I got your back. Rivers, wilderness -- these resources belong to everyone.

Oh, and Anonymous Coward, thanks for taking the time out of your day for some "whining on the internet" with us. Maybe if groups like Spring Ridge were throwing their membership fees into Trout Unlimited or Natural Resources Defense Council, there would be enough decent rivers to waste a few on the rich and famous. Pass the Powerbait.

Tom Chandler said...

Anonymous Whiner:
Let's get it straight; the Juniata was public access until a private landowner broke the law in his attempts to make a few bucks of a public resource (a navigable river).

Teh Wind Knot said...

Okay, Anon. First thing: you may as well have signed your comment, since it is not as if this is the world's most read blog or your tired refrain isn't immediately recognizable.

But, since I do appreciate your attention on this humble little blog, I will explain my thoughts one more time.

I have no problem with fishing clubs and rarely turn down an invitation from my better heeled friends to fish with them on theirs. However, those clubs 1) do not attempt to close off navigable water and 2) aren't pimping themselves for members all over the intarweb. In fact, they prefer to remain anonymous (in the good way; not your way) and you couldn't join today, no matter how much money you have.

I will even concede that certain 'king's grant' lands can predate the U.S. and its laws and be valid even on otherwise navigable waters, though I don't like it and think it is a cop out by the court in that case.

However, navigable waters are supposed to be held in trust for the peeps by the states and folks should not be able to put up booby traps to make them non-navigable. I believe that recreational navigation is still navigation, since no gross tonnage was ever mentioned in any definition and much of what was historically navigable was by small craft such as used by recreational boaters today. The fact that canals, railroad and interstate highways have made other forms of transportation more cost effective over the years does not change the fact that these are navigable waterways.

From what I have read of this case and the facts Judge Kurtz relied upon in his decision, it is my earnest hope that Beaver et al. appeal. This is one that I would love to see head up to higher courts and become precedent outside of Huntingdon Co, PA.