I have had the same experience with this the landowner on river right. He told us this was a private creek and told us to leave, even after trying to put in from the municipal land. As we started packing up without making a big fuss, he offered to let us put on their and we did. I recomend if you want to paddle this stretch that you knock on his door and ask permission before you start unloading. If you don't feel like dealing with him put on Hazel Creek (Upper Black that runs through Weatherly). By the way the Quakake section that he guards is very scenic but is only has a few class 2 rapids. Hazel Creek is shorter and has better rapids to reach the confluence of the Black.
As far as his rights as a landowner its very questionable, but he would have a chance if taken to court. Boaters only have established rights on streams that are proven navigable or are historically navigable. The majority of PA creeks are in a grey area, meaning they aren't proven navigable, but aren't proven non-navigable either. So if he took the case to court and found the creek to be non-navigable it would not be legal to boat or fish on it. So please tread lightly and ask permission.
I tried to put in at Route 93 on the side of the bridge with no posted signs and some crazy guy came out of his house and said this is a private creek. He started to video tape me and said if we put on the creek he would have us arrested and my car towed (which was not parked illeagally) Does he have the right to keep people off of "his" creek. Has anybody else had trouble with this guy. I started on the Black Creek in Weatherly instead.
You just need to be slick to get on the Quakake. Yes there is a red faced fellow that would just as soon punch hole in your boat than to have you put on the river near his land. Fact of the matter is the town's Municipal Offices and Public Works land makes up on of the banks at the bridge for route 93.
To avoid any headaches though if you drive couple 100 yards in the opposite direction of Jim Thorpe there is the intersection that you hang a right on to go toward Weatherly. On your right hand side there is a very small rivulet that feeds into the Quakake. If there is enough water in that stream then there will be enough water for you to enjoy the ride down the Quakake to the Black. It also means that you don't have to deal with the folks that own land around the bridge on 93 because you can float the small stream into the main flow.
Put in on the tiny stream and get ready to duck some trees - you'll be at the Quakake in no time and on your way into the Black Creek Gorge. Very scenic and if the water is pumping, you will be in for a surprise of run once you hit the confluence of Quakake and Black creek.
We had the same problem two years ago. This rather stocky red faced fellow came out as we were unloading our boats and told us that he could not guarantee the safety of our vehicles. We put-on in Weatherly too.
A detailed description of this stream can be found in the "Lehigh River Paddling Guide," which can be purchased online at http://www.ggentile.com/nonfiction_books.html. Scroll down to the appropriate title.
Any ideas as to how much other creeks in the area need to be running at to run this?
The last comment about navigability law took place in Virginia, which has much different stream access laws than PA. Please just put-in in Weatherly, where the visual gauge is anyway. In my opinion, there's no reason to run the Quakake anyway.
I found out the hard way that legal State navigability doesn't necessarily make you foolproof if a landowner decides to block your run...The landowner ordered me off the river by shouting then shooting at me (Amherst Co, Va.) and blasted several bullet holes in my boat--within inches of me--while I was running a class 3 rapid near the bridge takeout...The sheriff (his cousin) arrested me for trespassing and the judge (another cousin) threw out the case (knowing I would appeal to State Court citing the logic of "sheep grazing in cattle country." AWA told me they would support my case. What a crock! That was 20 years ago and I'm still waiting for a replacement Dagger canoe...
le scott, Carolina Canoe Club
Do the rights of the public include being able to cross private property to gain access to the public waters?
Off PA state website - as long as your entrance is legal if he touches your car and you do not touch his land above the high water mark that guy has no right to tell you what to do - So don't get out to go to the bathroom on the red-faced prick's land and you should be fine. If he threatens you or your property I'm pretty sure you could call the police and have him arrested for vandalism if he touches your car on public lands. Of course, a pleasant attitude usually works better, but something to keep in the back of your mind in case something does arise.
No. The public does not have a right to cross on private property to gain access to public waters. However, ***if you enter a public waterway lawfully (e.g., through a public access point), you can wade, boat, float or otherwise be in the waterway where it passes through private property.***
While he may be able to argue the creek is non-navigable, he cannot interfere with boats, at least as far as I can gather from the state site on the bottom of the page at the state site listed in previous post:
"Can a riparian landowner prevent the public from boating or floating in a non-navigable water?
No, because there’s a “navigation servitude” that gives the public the right to use the water for purposes of navigation only. This servitude does not extend to fishing.
Can a riparian landowner string a cable across a non-navigable waterway?
Yes, as long as:
1. the landowner owns property on both sides of the stream; and
2. the cable doesn’t interfere with navigation.
However, from a liability perspective, it may not be a good idea."
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This past fall American Whitewater met with Ohiopyle State Park managers to discuss possible updates to their whitewater paddling regulations. The first topic was to change the rules governing raft sizes at different water levels to recognize the capabilities of self-bailing rafts. Shorter self-bailing boats will now be allowed to run the river at high water. Some small changes to the regulations will make Ohiopyle Falls more accessible to paddlers. A change in the way the gauge is interpreted should make the falls "legal" on more days. Although whitewater paddlers are only one part of the vast public that visits the park, every effort was made to accommodate them while avoiding user conflicts and safety hazards. Special thanks goes to Ken Bisbee, Ohiopyle State Park Operations Manager and John Hallas, a former Ohiopyle State Park Operations Manager who is now Director of State Parks. Click here to read the updated Ohiopyle River Regulations:
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