an idea to meet landowners half way

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sleepswiththefishees
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an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by sleepswiththefishees » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:51 pm

Here is an idea with regards to improving the access TO rivers over private land; this is only relevant to rivers where the access and egress points are on private land or where you must use private land to get to the (parking etc). Firstly 3 points:

1, With regards to access it seems that the most vocal and I believe most important riverside landowners are those that own the land at a river’s access/egress points. I believe it is these landowners that we must try to get on-side for the access issues to progress. So I think we should at least try to meet them half way with this little idea.

2, Through reading posts it here seems that the general opinion is that the BCU access setup has been……. less than successful.

3, Many fishermen only dislike us paddlers because they resent that they must pay for their use of the river while we use it for free.

Here is an idea that tries to solve these issues.

In Devon near the Dart there is a cave called Pridhamsleigh. This cave is right in the middle of a farmer’s land. The last time I went there, the setup was that to access the cave cavers paid the farmer £1 each. Now this was a little while ago and I don’t know what the current situation is like but cannot we adopt this system for paddling when we have to cross private land to get to access/egress points on a river?

So: we approach those farmers/landowners who own the land at access/egress points and offer this system: a paddler pays say £1 to him each time they access a river over his land.

If they accept/give it a try:

Everybody wins: Paddlers get to access rivers without the hassle of worrying about bumping into an irrate and difficult landowner for a small sum. I for one would be perfectly happy to pay £1 for that.

Landowners make a small profit from the miniscule strip of land that will be required for this. They get to know paddlers and learn that they are in general a nice bunch who will happily stick to where he wants them to go (to access the river), don’t make a mess, try to be as unobtrusive as possible and police themselves. He then realizes that the more paddlers that run the river the more money he makes for no work at all and starts to offer better parking facilities so that more people can use the river.

We don’t need the BCU to try this, local paddlers and clubs can try to approach landowners directly and we can say to fishermen that we are paying for our use of the land to get to these rivers.

Now I accept that that is a perfect world.

But if they refuse to try it:

Then they give us another moral string to our bow. We can say that we offered this to them in an attempt to meet us halfway and they refused, thus improving the image of paddlers.

Has this been tried before?? If it has then I have just wasted my time typing all this. DOH!!
Would people be prepared to pay landowners like this??

Remember this charge would only be for rivers where the access and/or egress points are on private land, not national park land (like the dart loop, upper etc) and only to those landowners that own the land at the access egress points. (NOT all the landowners next to a river section)

(p.s when I was almost finished writing this I slipped, hit a random button and wiped the whole lot, so I’ve had to effectively write the damn thing twice!!!)

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by stewarty905 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:04 pm

I think that if you go down this line then you are going to give up the argument of getting (free right of way) totally and then there is no turning back, you would then end up trying to argue your way out of the tolled method you created and back to square one.
Stick with the free right of way argument

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by buck197 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:07 pm

Do I smell something fishy here as this is the second thread that is sort of paddler friendly and access related from someone who has just registered.
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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by clarky999 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:17 pm

I don't.

I'm not sure what I feel about the £1 thing though - I can see where you're coming from, but ultimately it's still paying for access...

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by sleepswiththefishees » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:37 pm

buck197 wrote:Do I smell something fishy here as this is the second thread that is sort of paddler friendly and access related from someone who has just registered.
wow.... my apologies i didn't realize that there was some sort of system where you had to be on here for a certain amount of time and post x amount of posts before expressing an idea/opinion on access.

Just to calm your mind i am not an fisherman spy or oportunistc landlord, just a poor shmuk who wants to go paddling without worrying about getting into an argument or having his car keyed/tyres let down.

But you have made me think....... what if this post and who i was was reversed. (hypothetically speaking) What if i was a landowner who came on here and said: " i am happy for you to use my land to get to river x but it will cost you £1 a head each time. Would this community accept that? Or tell him no.

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by MattBibbings » Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:08 pm

This is a system that indeed works with caving. I in fact got away with paying a farmer 30p for 5 of us to go caving 2 weeks ago because we had no more money than that with us!

It seems to be acceptable to cavers and it seems to work. Would I mind paying £1? Well, I paid £8 to fart about on the Washburn today (different kettle of fish - excuse the pun). I work for North Yorkshire Outdoor Education service and we pay for access to a number of our venues that are on private land. It's just the way it has to be. The payment really is a just a sweetner for the access. The thing that makes the agreements endure is that we build good working relationships with the land owners.

The issue we as paddlers have though is that the same land owner that is selling us access for a quid may be selling fishing rights for a whole lot more. Pissing of his expensive fishing clients for sake of a few extra quid may not appeal their better judgement.

So, in principle it may get us some improved short term access, but it doesn't help the long term issues and still mean that one or two bad apples can upset the whole cart.

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by jmmoxon » Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:53 pm

not national park land (like the dart loop, upper etc)
The National Park do not own any of the land around the Dart, they are a Government Organisation set up to protect the area. Although much of the moor may be access land it is still owned by someone. Along many rivers you also get the situation where the fishing rights are no longer owned by the landowner, having been sold along the way to raise a bit of cash - further complicated by much farmland being tenanted by a different person to the owner (who may not even live locally - even the local Councils often have trouble identifying the legal owners of some areas!)

The caving situation is also a lot more complicated - some farmers charge for access, others don't. Some insist the cave is locked (to keep out people) or covered (to keep out animals), others want proof of insurance, or only allow certain people to lead groups to minimise damage (many times it is the clubs that insist on this rather than the landowners - and it's hardly surprising considering the damage I have seen caused by careless cavers!) and some will not allow access under any conditions. The cavers have also influenced access, whereby many of the Mendip caves on farmland are locked, but clubs hold copies of the key, whereas Yorkshire cavers resisted the move and most caves have remained unlocked.

So who wants to p(l)ay?

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by capsized8 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:54 am

Hmmm, been done, they were called honesty boxes, probably wouldn,t get much use these days, wrong name perhaps!
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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by RichA » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:14 am

What's the deal with cases where there has been uncontested access for 20 years or something? Does that warrant a public right of way being put in place? I don't know any more than that, but does someone else? Might be worth an actual look... If someone can start me off I'll happily do a bit of reading, but I'm not a lawyer by a long long way!

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by Ray Latham » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:31 am

What a load of cobblers, start to pay some, and all will want it. Before you know it a license fee will be applied and the Govt will be in on the act.

Plus we are then leaving ourselves open to the option of being told that the site is not available at certain times of the year.

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by bib_bob_euroslap » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:34 am

It makes sense to me and I would be perfectly happy to pay for getting on/off a river and their upkeep.

Taking Slovenia and the Soca river as an example you have to buy a permit (which costs very little) which contributes to the excellent facilities at the put ins and take outs and their upkeep. I really don't see why we can't adopt a similar approach in this country.

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by RichA » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:50 am

bib_bob_euroslap wrote:Taking Slovenia and the Soca river as an example you have to buy a permit (which costs very little) which contributes to the excellent facilities at the put ins and take outs and their upkeep. I really don't see why we can't adopt a similar approach in this country.
No thanks!!! I can't think of anything worse than turning paddling in the UK into a tourist trap full of portaloos!

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by Grumpy old man » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:03 am

Hi
if the WCA/CW are successful with their campaign for the land reform bill similar to that of Scotland's, then that allows access to land as well as rivers, I'm led to believe. What will happen to sites in Wales that already charge access to river banks through private land, sites like Conway falls and Swallow falls? It's not that long ago when the WCA/CW were charging £14 just to access the lower T.
If our governing bodies continue to push up the volume of people on the rivers (which is there goal) then the honey pot rivers are going to have to become more commercialised. Perhaps monies spent on this rather than the access campaign of CE might be more realistic, we already have a right to our rivers.

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by Paula_V » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:08 am

sleepswiththefishees wrote:Everybody wins: Paddlers get to access rivers without the hassle of worrying about bumping into an irrate and difficult landowner for a small sum. I for one would be perfectly happy to pay £1 for that.

Would people be prepared to pay landowners like this??
Absolutely not, no.

I believe in free access, that we have the right to paddle the rivers... and indeed that certain rights of way over private land at entry and egress have been created by use over a long period of time.
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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by Grumpy old man » Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:04 pm

[quote="Paula_V

I believe in free access, that we have the right to paddle the rivers... and indeed that certain rights of way over private land at entry and egress have been created by use over a long period of time.[/quote]

Hi
Rights of access over a long time have only been created if! they have gone unchallenged over a period of 20 years, I think. I also believe in free access along our rivers and that now exists in my mind but access acrosss private land?

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by Chris W » Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:14 pm

Again, I've just been writing about presumed rights and the 20 year rule on the "Aarrrgggghhh" thread. One good reason for only having one access thread on the go at any one time!

'Sleepswiththefishes", if you've only been reading UKRGB since you registered (assuming that's not your real name (!) what is it? I like to know who I'm talking to), you'll have missed 100's of pages of debate on here over the last 7+ years. Pretty much everything that could be said has been said, and that includes debates about paying.

The thing is, it wouldn't be economic to police so you'd have to have an honesty box; if the landowners at the take in and take out start receiving money, the landowners of the land between the take in and take out will want their share (because they own the land through which the river passes); and whoever owns the sporting rights may also not be amused. And so it goes on. And on. Any deal has to involve all interested parties, which is why it's not easy.

Another thing to bear in mind is that as soon as you start paying in return for permission for public access, you may be waiving any potential rights you may have already acquired over the land (as opposed to the water) if access has gone unchallenged for over 20 years. Then that ever so nice landowner sells out to someone who isn't so reasonable....

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by buck197 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:09 pm

I apologise to sleepswiththefishees but I felt your couple of recent threads were coming from a landowners background and not entirely in our favour, I made a mistake - sorry.

This debate has been well and truly discussed. On your scheme, how would this money be collected, would we have to pay a landowner for emptying rescued boat on someones land and who sets the price of access (Popular places like Dartmeet may charge £5 a pop)? The erosion arguement is similar to footpath erosion and there is no charge for using footpaths.

My own opinion is that a license fee to paddle all English rivers would be something I could accept and buy into - maybe £30 per year.
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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by morsey » Mon Feb 02, 2009 3:54 pm

Half way? No way and we are not sending you in to negotiate! Halfway is not what we want, not even close. As Canoeists (being purely selfish) we want year round all day access to rivers (and we want rain every night and sun every day). Being not so selfish we are prepared to share rivers with other users, walkers, swimmers, anglers, our list is endless as we respect the right of everybody to enjoy the natural resources of rivers. So we look to areas of conflict of use. In general that comes down to the summer months (and the end of Spring early Autumn to a lesser extent) where anglers look for good sport. We have offered several compromises at this time; early morning and later afternoon paddling as on a par with several European countries and paddling at levels above which provide ideal boating conditions and below which provide ideal angling conditions. Both of which in general have been either rejected, adjusted (levels raised not to reflect a true meaning of the word share!) or restricted.

We want a fair share. It is as simple as that, nothing more and nothing less.

BUT and this BUT is a stumbling point currently, we do not want to have to go round the country and thrash this out with every single land owner and angling club on every single river. It is a ridiculous situation that we have got with access agreements, they do not work and nor will attaining new ones, hence the majority of paddlers ignore them. So when fisheries/landowners come to us we say "thanks but no thanks" because we want a National policy that makes it clear and easy for all paddlers new and old to adjust to so that the balance of fairness and respect to the environment is easily maintained and promoted.

Pay? No. Natural resource equals free.
Services be they parking, changing, cafe etc. can obviously demand a fee and are welcomed especially where they can help to reduce impact of local areas and can assist with economic income to those areas.

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by RichA » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:22 pm

morsey wrote:Pay? No. Natural resource equals free.
Services be they parking, changing, cafe etc. can obviously demand a fee and are welcomed especially where they can help to reduce impact of local areas and can assist with economic income to those areas.
Imagine this. A landowner kindly lets us walk through, say, their field to gain access to a river. It's not a public right of way, and never has been. If they charged a fee to use that path, would that come under your heading of 'services' that also includes parking, changing, etc? I'm not being an arse, just genuinely curious. I've not quite made up my mind on it myself yet.

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by morsey » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:23 pm

No that is charging for access.

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by RichA » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:24 pm

Really? Surely that's nothing to do with the river (and hence access?) at all - they could still charge the fee if the river wasn't there.

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by peakfreak » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:26 pm

morsey wrote:Half way? No way and we are not sending you in to negotiate! ......
I, as always am with morsey on this one. The only thing I would add is, if fisherfolk are so against us because we don't pay and they do, then why do they pay <...Insert the obvious answer here...>. Natural resources = free for all and that is the way it should always be. I could ramble on about how land should be free seeing how historically it was claimed by the hoy poloy, but I won't ;-)

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by morsey » Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:42 pm

RichA wrote:Really? Surely that's nothing to do with the river (and hence access?) at all - they could still charge the fee if the river wasn't there.
The ethos of CROW is about gaining access to natural resources for the population. The cave example mentioned, the payment on the gate on the Llugwy below Pont Caffyn are simply claiming payment for access. Historically they have been regarded as being acceptable, it is no longer is the case. Basically those who lay claim to natural resources need to rethink their strategy. That effectively forces change on farmers/landowners, and they will probably not like it, but hey they will have to get used to it. The smart ones are observing the change and adapting.

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by MattBibbings » Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:23 pm

What about this as a suggestion.

We are campaigning for open and responsible access for all to inland waters. That should mean that we can expect fisherfolk to then have open and responsible access to fishing rivers. No rod license, no day passes, etc. Just water that may or may not fish in it. Just as we have a river that may or may not have water in it. No one pays, everyone plays - responsibly.

This I think would be a good suggestion. The stock of fish is artifically stiumulated in our rivers anyway. If it was left to nature to take it's course then the average fisherman would have to as cunning as we are in finding their sport. No ready built jetties to sit on. We should and could just all rub along together. Good behaviour and cooperation would then dictate the standards and practices, not simply the phrase we all hear "We pay rod licence/day passes, the paddlers don't, so they can't paddle"

(And before you mention it I know we artifically stimulate paddling environments (Think, HPP, Washburn, Tryweryn, etc) but we then pay for them in those cases, as fishermen could still do in stocked lakes(well, maybe not Tryweryn, but they have other incomes).)

(I guess this is just me being hopeful of a utopian future where we all get along......You can't blame a guy for dreaming)

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by salamandaar » Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:36 pm

morsey, can i come and tramp around in your garden?? its a natural resource after all
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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by jmmoxon » Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:39 pm

You might upset his landlord...

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by Simon Westgarth » Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:51 pm

bib_bob_euroslap wrote:It makes sense to me and I would be perfectly happy to pay for getting on/off a river and their upkeep.

Taking Slovenia and the Soca river as an example you have to buy a permit (which costs very little) which contributes to the excellent facilities at the put ins and take outs and their upkeep. I really don't see why we can't adopt a similar approach in this country.
The river permit system used in Soca, is in case a car park payment system for river users. Under Slovene law you can not charge for access to the river, so the Bovec Commune has come up with these river permits for parking your car. If however you wish to have a panic on the beach and use the car park, you do not need to pay. I have great fun when there as a temporary resident I show by ID card, and do not pay for parking, ie get a river permit, even though I am getting on the river. Its a little silly.

The best situation is for a land owner to develop a car park and charge for it. Direct income from the users of the land. If you car outside a charged for car park as to avoid the charge on a narrow road so to restrict traffic flow, the police should simply ticket you.

As for the Buckfastleigh Caving example, its a great cash only tax dodge I have seen in the outdoors. A friend with a local company can not get a single receipt out of the said land owner for caving access.

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by Ray Latham » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:53 pm

[/quote]Imagine this. A landowner kindly lets us walk through, say, their field to gain access to a river. It's not a public right of way, and never has been. If they charged a fee to use that path, would that come under your heading of 'services' that also includes parking, changing, etc? I'm not being an arse, just genuinely curious. I've not quite made up my mind on it myself yet.[/quote]

How long before they decide they dont want us on there land or they want to put up the rate.

Will they declare this new found wealth to the tax man? as on some rivers there would be a great deal of money to be made.

I cant believe we have such a view point amongst paddlers. 2 years ago very few people were running the Upper Dart out of season without friction. I noted that last season although there was some token hassle it was much more accepted by the comunity (fishing / landowners) they gave up. Now some weak minded members want to throw all of that away in a retrograde movement. Its laughable.

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by sleepswiththefishees » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:22 pm

Wow… quite a response. It was just an idea. Admittedly after reading these posts it’s one with some holes. Especially the 20yrs of unchallenged access thing (I don’t want to mess with that) and the issue of people being charged for recovered boats or scouting a river and all the others etc.

However there is one issue I would like to pursue and maybe this is semantics.

First let me just make it clear that I believe that we all have right to use the rivers responsibly for free (be that for paddling or whatever) and that we all have the right to get to those rivers for free over public owned run land. But getting to and from those rivers over private land is a separate (but linked) issue.

I do not understand why some people say it is acceptable for a landowner to charge for his land to be used for parking/changing but not acceptable to charge to allow people to walk across it to get to and from point X (which in this case happens to be a river).

Both actions involve access to his (private) land.
Both actions use his (private) land
Both financially benefit the local community (giving them a reason to welcome paddlers and anyone else for that matter)
Both actions are done for the same ultimate goal: you park there because you want to get to/from point X and you walk across it because you want to get to/from point X.

The only difference I can see is a quantitative one: you shouldn’t be charged as much for walking across (Private) land because you are on it for less time.

This is just an opinion I have no legal argument to support this.

I think it simply comes to this. Do you think that by allowing the public to walk across his (private) land a landowner is providing a service to the general community? (yes I know that is a leading question)

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Re: an idea to meet landowners half way

Post by sleepswiththefishees » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:56 pm

Ray Latham wrote:How long before they decide they dont want us on there land
They already don't want us on their land. This is an idea to try and rectify that.
Ray Latham wrote:Will they declare this new found wealth to the tax man? as on some rivers there would be a great deal of money to be made.
What has that got to do with us paddlers? Surely that is a problem for mr Taxman to worry about.
Ray Latham wrote:2 years ago very few people were running the Upper Dart out of season without friction. I noted that last season although there was some token hassle it was much more accepted by the comunity (fishing / landowners) they gave up.
1. This thread has nothing to do with the seasonal issue, the only person so far who said anything about seasons is you (and now me etc). I personally think that the idea of seasons for paddling is nonsense.

2. This thread has nothing to do with the Upper Dart. The only other person to mention it before was me........ to discount it from this issue:
sleepswiththefishees wrote:Remember this charge would only be for rivers where the access and/or egress points are on private land, not national park land (like the dart loop, upper etc) and only to those landowners that own the land at the access egress points. (NOT all the landowners next to a river section)
In fact this thread has no relevance to any river where we can get to it by crossing publically owned, run land; the local landowner has no issue with kayakers or where paddlers have got onto/off rivers over land for ages and no-one has battered an eyelid

Just to clarify this idea (and it is only an idea) was to help smooth relations with private landowners who own/run/operate take care of and are responsible for the Land that paddlers must cross to get to and from a river and do not want paddlers on it. Now if it transpires that this idea upsets already established Land access to rivers then fine... it is a bad idea.
Ray Latham wrote:they want to put up the rate.
Now that is a genuine problem... no answer.
Ray Latham wrote:Now some weak minded members want to throw all of that away in a retrograde movement. Its laughable.
What....weak minded how da.... well i uh oh to hell with it time for another drink or ten

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