View Full Version : Tubers in Little River

05-20-2006, 10:06 PM
Did anybody catch this article in the Knoxville paper


Townsend tired of tubing trespassers
Officials hope Blount OKs plan to alert river users to property rights

By ROBERT WILSON, rlwilson2594@msn.com
May 18, 2006

TOWNSEND - The Townsend City Commission will be floating a proposed law before the Blount County Commission tonight dealing with tubers on the Little River who violate trespassing laws when getting into or out of the river.
The Townsend commission already has passed the law, according to Mayor Kenny Myers, which provides for signs to make tubers aware that anywhere they get into or out of the river in the city of Townsend they may be trespassing on someone else's property.

Townsend wants the Blount commission to pass the same law because, as Myers puts it, "The south side of the river is in Townsend and the north side is in the county."

It is, he says, a property-rights issue.

"People are fed up with it," he said. "If they go in and out at a designated spot, it's not a problem."

The law asks tubing outfitters on the Little River to educate their customers as to the rules governing "ingress and egress" from the river, as well as the prohibition of alcohol, littering or fouling the river with human waste.

The tubers, not the outfitters, will be the target of the law, and they will be the ones cited for violations, Myers said.

Technically, Myers said, if a tuber floating on the Little River through Townsend gets off his or her tube, he or she is trespassing on private property, because landowners along the river have what are known as riparian rights. On a non-navigable stream like the Little River it means the landowner's property extends to the middle of the river.

"It's gotten bad in the last couple of years," Myers said, citing cases in which tubers had gotten out of the river and walked through people's yards where they were having a picnic or through campgrounds between campers and their picnic tables.

Tubing is a growing business in Townsend requiring the new rules, he said.

The law Townsend passed requires tubing companies to obtain a $100 annual permit in addition to the county business license and to obtain or maintain liability insurance coverage.

The law also provides for signs to be placed along the river to alert tubers to the rules and makes small "no trespassing" signs available for sale to property owners along the river.

Shanna Skidmore, owner of River Rat Tubing and Kayak, said the law validates what her outfit already is doing.

"We're actually excited that the city is giving us more support. We can only do so much."

She said her company is trying to be a good neighbor and that the new rules will require other outfitters to abide by the same rules her company follows.

Remember this and help prevent it being fishermen next