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Old 01-23-2011, 09:51 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,006
Rivers Declared Public Highways

Here's a compilation of legislation declaring many rivers in the Adirondacks public highways. Most of the legislation explicitly says that they are highways for the 'purposes of floating logs' so I don't know if it has too much relevance for recreational travel.

It might help those who feel they don't have enough find the right trees to bark up though.

I might be mischaracterizing the legislation, but I think this shows how the State of New York wasn't shy about exercising its powers of eminent domain in the Adirondacks if there was sufficient public need and potential benefit to justify the action. Also, note that much of this legislation was at the same time the state was selling its holdings to private landowners.

Note how the legislation seeks to resolve and eliminate conflicts between mill owners and others who might erect dams and other obstructions in the waterways, and those who needed to use the waterways for transport of logs. In the 19th century waterways were used intensively and extensively for power, and for transport, and those two uses frequently conflicted. Today's conflicts are much more nebulous and abstract, but similar in some respects.

As for the Beaver River, the "public highway" portion stops west of Nehasane Lake, so doesn't apply to most of coveted stretch between Lake Lila and Stillwater Reservoir.

Also, keep in mind the outcomes of Morgan v. King, and ALC v. Sierra Club - a waterway having an intensive and extensive history of commercial use isn't a guarantee of it being "navigable-in-fact."
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