‘Oregon river access rights battle brewing — get ready’
Here’s a quick primer on Oregon River Rights from Common Waters of Oregon:
Even if the bed of a waterway is privately owned, the waterway may be used for public recreation and other purposes if it meets the state test of “floatability.” A waterway is “floatable” if its length, width and depth allow boats—even small boats or canoes—to make successful progress through its waters.If a privately owned waterway meets this test, the public may use the water for recreational uses, including boating, fishing and swimming. On these rivers, the public may not interfere with the landowners’ use of their property. Similarly, the landowners may not interfere with the public’s right to use the river, even though the landowners own the river bed. For example, landowners may not build a fence across a river or string barbed wire across a river that meets the floatability test.
The public’s right to use a river does NOT entitle the public to trespass on upland private property to gain access to a river from the upland. The public’s rights are to “use” the rivers, not rights to “access” the rivers. “Necessity” or emergency may be an exception, but do not assume so.
Court upholds public river access in Montana