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  #11  
Old 01-04-2008, 05:47 PM
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Very informative and well put, Byron. I seem to recall that River John used to put in float groups (canoe, tube, kayak, etc.) at Docks Motel and supervise them all the way down to the island Brett was referring to - River John's Island.

That's an interesting story in itself. I was under the impression for a long time that a private citizen could not own an island that was situated wholly within the banks of the Little River (btw I have no idea where that idea came from) so I was quite surprised the first time I saw his operation. I dropped my brother and his son off at the dam in Walland one morning a couple years ago and picked them up at his island later that afternoon. If you've never seen it, you'd get a kick out of it. He's got quite a setup there in Rockford.

Gerry
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  #12  
Old 01-04-2008, 05:49 PM
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Byron,

If the landowner owns the streambed that must mean he can do what ever he wants to it right? So...If he wants to remove every rock on his part (because he owns half of the river) and sell them he could? Or better yet replace those rocks with broken glass that would be ok as well? I bet there is some sort of law about that. It wouldn't be littering because it was on his property.

Guys,

I am so glad I asked. I really thought I was the only one in the dark about this. I am sorry about the big stink but I really just wanted to know.
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  #13  
Old 01-04-2008, 07:12 PM
Byron Begley Byron Begley is offline
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Good Question 10 ML,

A landowner who owns the river bottom can make changes in a stream as long as he or she gets a permit from TDEC. You can't do anything that will harm the ecosystem and if you do the fines are huge. I remember a fellow who lived on the Piney River in Middle Tennessee decided to dig some gravel out of his stream. If my memory serves me right, and it was about 25 years ago, he was fined $30,000. I know the guys at TDEC well in the Knoxville office. I needed to do some bank stabilization on the spring creek that runs through my land. I got a permit. When our TU chapter worked on the streams that run through Cades Cove to repair damage done by cattle, we had to get a State permit from TDEC for work in the National Park because the Cove is in Tennessee. When we formed the Little River Watershed Association people from TDEC were involved from day one. The people at TDEC have their heart in the right place and care about our watersheds. Problem is, they are understaffed.

Gerry,
River John's is a nice place. I bet you could pull a survey and that island is on his property plat. Some forward thinking counties in Tennessee are removing river bottoms from deeds when they transfer. Over time this could eliminate this problem. Our county is not doing that. Some landowners are requesting that the river bottom be taken out of their deeds. A campground here in Townsend did just that. They are worried about liability issues. But I don't think a landowner can be liable in Tennessee for damages unless there is negligence involved such as running a string of barbed wire across the river.

Byron
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  #14  
Old 01-07-2008, 02:40 PM
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Default Dredging case in 80's

Byron -

I remember that case too. I think the guy had to pay a fine, plus pay for remediation. He'd done considerable damage to the stream, had his dozer down in there taking gravel out for whatever purpose.

I also remember seeing some nice trout taken from the Piney back then, in the 16-18 inch range.

sb
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  #15  
Old 01-07-2008, 06:47 PM
Byron Begley Byron Begley is offline
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Hey Steve,

Remember when we kept trying to stock brown trout in the Piney using those boxes full of eggs? That was a lot of fun but I don't think it ever worked. Guy McComas made the boxes and Jim Rountree was our leader. I remember the high water would take out our boxes. Do you ever fish the Piney? It is a beautiful stream and it did have rainbows in it. I don't know if they were stocked or wild.

Byron
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  #16  
Old 01-08-2008, 12:25 AM
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If the LR is classified "navigable" the constabulary was incorrect.
No trespassing occurred.

"1. Which rivers are owned by the public? The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the bed and banks under all rivers, lakes, and streams that are navigable, for title purposes, are owned by the states, held in trust for the public. Title in this context means ownership. This public-trust ownership extends up to the ordinary high water line, (or ordinary high water mark,) encompassing what is commonly referred to as the submerged and submersible land, as opposed to the upland. This type of navigability is called title navigability...."


http://www.adventuresports.com/river/nors/us-law-who-owns.htm
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  #17  
Old 01-08-2008, 03:05 PM
Byron Begley Byron Begley is offline
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Here's another twist,

I have talked to two people in the last couple of days about this issue. One of them was the son of a former Mayor of Townsend and a landowner on the Little River. The other is Joe Hatton who has done extensive research on the subject. If the owner's deed refers to the boundary as being in the center of the river they can't stop you from wading. Why? Because the middle of the river changes, it is not a defined line. Evidently some of the Townsend Deeds define the boundary to be the center of the river. Joe Hatton found some more information that is interesting. If a landowner owns a dam they cannot stop people from portaging around that dam on their property. Further, if that landowner is challenged in court they could face the possibility of paying to have the dam removed. I bet the cost of removing the dam in Townsend would cost more than the property is worth. I am referring to the people who stopped Troutman from portaging around the dam.

Byron
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  #18  
Old 01-08-2008, 05:01 PM
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Byron, That would make sense about the dam. If you own a dam that has impeded stream flow or navigation you would have to allow portage around the dam. I have also read that a navigable river is one that was used for commerce. Floating beaver pelts down river in a canoe in the 1700's would qualify. However, these cases could be difficult to defend in court. Some who would close off access have deep pockets and influence. A corporation trying to privatize a large section of a river would have considerable assets to invest in litigation. But there are some places too beautiful and too wonderful for any one person to own. Some things belong to us all.
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  #19  
Old 01-08-2008, 06:52 PM
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I remember that well. We tried several years, and every year high water took our boxes. I seem to recall that someone did find some small browns once, that would have been the result of our efforts. I haven't seen Doc in quite a while, think he's mainly fishing salt-water these days. He'd be the one to know if I'm remembering too well, i.e., my memory is sometimes so good I can remember stuff that never even happened. 8>) Would be nice to hear that they caught on, but I pretty much doubt that happened.

I haven't fished the Piney is 20+ years. Even back then, we tried to improve it, but few of us fished it much -- not even Doc and he lived very near to it.

sb



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Originally Posted by Byron Begley View Post
Hey Steve,

Remember when we kept trying to stock brown trout in the Piney using those boxes full of eggs? That was a lot of fun but I don't think it ever worked. Guy McComas made the boxes and Jim Rountree was our leader. I remember the high water would take out our boxes. Do you ever fish the Piney? It is a beautiful stream and it did have rainbows in it. I don't know if they were stocked or wild.

Byron
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