Monday, July 23, 2007

Attitude Adjustment Needed

Fall River is one of several beautifully clear rivers near Bend. Fishing is by fly only and is well known to those that pursue this sport/hobby.

This photo shows the Fall River Fish Hatchery on the left and a housing estate on the right. You are allowed to fish in the river from the hatchery property ... but not in the hatchery ponds!

Here's what bothers me ...

All over the US people can buy up lakeside and riverside property like this (and maybe oceanside, too?) and prevent public access to that natural feature. That doesn't seem right to me.

Since living in Australia I have been exposed to another philosophy that I feel is much more equitable. "Free and unimpeded access to our coastline is central to the Australian psyche." And "most states claim the first 150 feet above the high water mark as public land." That means that no one can keep another from using this natural wonder. Any development has to provide the public with access to the coastline.

Are our rivers any different? If you are a religious person, do you think God created that river just for the exclusive use of someone with enough money to "buy" it? Are the landowners responsible for managing the river bank? Do they control/cause erosion or pollution?

Upon President Washington's offer to buy the Indian lands around Puget Sound, Washington, Chief Seattle said "The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?"

Everyday, a little more of "Gods Country" becomes hidden behind locked gates and meaningless signs. For the "exclusive use" of who?

The new reservation: the land not desired by the wealthy.


R&R in The Netherlands said...

Nice photo. The river certainly is clear!
We were just in Scotland and they too have an access law. They even advertise awareness of the rights & responsibilities. I think the problem in the states are the few who spoil it for the rest (ie, not respecting the environment). Tough enforcement would be needed to ensure such a law wouldn't be abused. But I do agree in principle.

Kate said...

You are a civic-minded individual. Hoorah! México has the same philosophy, but it doesn't always work well because resort and hotel owners often design their property in such a way that makes access to the water difficult for the public. I've read at least once the same complaint on these blogs about Australia from a native. Human beings throughout time have had problems with being covetous.

Love your top photo because of the serenity.

Mme Benaut said...

Well said D! The river is absolutely beautiful.

Ame said...

I hear ya loud and clear! Awesome river AND shot!

And YES! Ya GOTTA do the FRAAAAAAAAAAAY! Do GOMEZ play with them as well?

Just curious if they're touring together!

Toodles Biker Guy!

Anonymous said...

Eighteen years ago I worked in western Connecticut for two summers as a Ranger on two different lakes along the Housatonic River. Both were part of Connecticut Light and Powers (CL&P) hydro-electric damn system. Private individuals were able to purchase land adjacent to these bodies of water BUT a certain percent of the shoreline HAD to be accessible to the general public. This space alloted for this public use easement did vary but it fell within a couple hundered feet of high water mark. CL&P even "developed" some of this area to facilitate good public use of this land. Parking and picnic area, trash cans, maintenance, even a Bald Eagle observation "blind"! And the community did use these areas. The rivers and lakes "belong" to us all while we are here, not just to the upper 1%.

drpack said...

Too bad the "powers to be" here don't have any foresight ... all they see are $$$.
I suppose they think shorelines are infinite and there are plenty elsewhere.