USRC Monthly Meeting - Monday, March 7

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Joe Niernberger

Mar 6, 2022, 12:56:19 PMMar 6

Topic: USRC Monthly Meeting

Time: Mar 7, 2022 07:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)


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Jeff Carpenter

Mar 22, 2022, 3:59:14 PMMar 22
This came across my news feed and I thought I'd share it in case people hadn't seen it. The decision could have a big impact on USRC and similar groups activities. 

State Supreme Court asked to define limits of river access

Tuesday, March 22, 2022
Can property owners bar others from accessing a river that crosses their property?
Capitol News Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Supreme Court is being asked to decide the extent to which property owners can block anyone else, including neighboring property owners, from accessing a river that runs through their property...

Hope to see you on the river soon.
Jeff Carpenter
(Former board member)

David Johnston

Mar 22, 2022, 4:05:49 PMMar 22
to Jeff Carpenter,
The river has rights too
Maybe the river lawyers should advocate that anyone owning property on the river never put any pollution in it!!!

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Mar 22, 2022, 4:32:18 PMMar 22
to Jeff Carpenter,

An interesting case – beyond this is flood plains – I have paddled across flood plains when flooded myself in wooded areas, but not near anyone’s home.  However, growing up we lived on a flood plain, where several acres of our backyard would occasionally flood.  I enjoyed seeing people occasionally paddle the creek, but never saw anyone paddle our “backyard.”




Scott Hays

Mar 22, 2022, 4:50:13 PMMar 22
to Wilcoski, James CIV USARMY CEERD-CERL (USA), Jeff Carpenter,
Thanks for sharing, Jeff. We've been watching this one, but I wasn't aware until a bit ago that it was being argued today.

Another group posted a link to the live stream for the hearing and it was recorded for later viewing. I haven't viewed it yet, but I intend to. Yes, this will have tremendous implications for how we move forward with several pending initiatives. We're rooting for Team Holm!

And yes, David, it's a shame that a riverfront property owner could complain about kayakers or canoeists briefly paddling past, but will still dump their own garbage in 'that river out in the back of the property'. People also trash our rivers from almost any bridge crossing as well. 

One key for all of us who paddle rivers is that constant respect for riparian property owners should be paramount. That means: no littering, no disembarking on land along rivers unless it's a clear emergency or you are certain it's publicly owned land (park or forest preserve), and also leave your waterproof boom box at home, please. Noise pollution is still pollution. 


s foltz

Mar 23, 2022, 11:01:52 AMMar 23
to Wilcoski, James CIV USARMY CEERD-CERL (USA), Jeff Carpenter,

I remember paddling through a "backyard" soccer goal (far from the house) upstream of Riverwood a few years back.

I think it's interesting anyone would even consider that owning property on both sides of a river means nobody could pass. I suppose there could be a differentation between navigable or not. And at some point a stream also becomes too small to warrant access. Maybe this isn't an easy question. I sure hope laws on the books limit the scope of a court decision.


From: <> on behalf of Wilcoski, James CIV USARMY CEERD-CERL (USA) <>
Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2022 8:19 PM
To: Jeff Carpenter <>; <>
Subject: RE: [URL Verdict: Unknown][Non-DoD Source] [usrc-friends] A court case to watch.

Scott Hays

Mar 23, 2022, 1:51:41 PMMar 23
to s foltz, Wilcoski, James CIV USARMY CEERD-CERL (USA), Jeff Carpenter,
In Illinois, on riverfront property, property boundaries extend to the center of a river, and those who own land on both sides could be interpreted as "owning" that part of the river. The question for Holm v. Kodat will be whether that then gives such a riparian property owner the right to claim trespass for boaters who paddle through.  

Current Illinois law is certainly ambiguous but has been widely interpreted by most including IDNR to mean that most of our rivers are "non-public" (except where the land along the river is held by a public entity such as a Forest Preserve District), and therefore paddlers could be trespassing when paddling through such "private" lands. (of course, to matter, a riparian landowner would have to press the trespass issue against a boater, and in fact - and happily - few of them actually do. Except in the case of Kodat).  

As it happened, the Appellate court ruling on Holm v. Kodat ruled in favor of the riverfront landowner's (Kodat) right to claim that paddlecraft paddling through (Holm) on the Mazon River are in fact trespassing, so that is the current state of the law unless this Supreme Court overturns that appellate decision. Let's hope they do.

Now as to "riverfront" property boundaries during high water - that's another issue...


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