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Friday, May 28, 2010

Kansans deserve to use their rivers

From Wichita Peace and Freedom Party Examiner:

The Arkansas River Corridor Access Plan (ARCAP) has tried to push for access points along major roads, so that residents of Kansas can actually use the Arkansas river for recreation.
Kansas is one of the few states that doesn’t have access points to our publicly owned rivers. The Arkansas River is one of just a few Kansas Rivers that are in the public domain. Most of Kansas Rivers are on privately owned land. This is also different from many other states.
For example, almost all of the rivers in Missouri have public access ramps along roads and highways, so that people can boat, fish or swim in the rivers. In Kansas it is hard to access the river in rural areas since the land between the roads and the rivers are private property. So it’s legal to use the river, but it is hard to find places that allow a person to legally access the river.
Right now water recreation in Kansas is limited to man-made lakes. Some, such as Cheney Lake, look more like a giant mud puddle than a lake. Use of the rivers would give people more diversity of scenery, boating choices and wildlife.
The biggest obstacle to the ARCAP is local land owners. They seem to harbor distaste for big city people fearing trash, trespassing on private land and vandalism. There is also the backward idea, that many Kansans have, that publicly owned land is the equivalent of communism. They have successfully lobbied to keep urban people out of rural areas for recreation and they have been able to stop the county from implementing the access points as they originally planed
According to The Wichita Eagle:
“At the urging of some landowners, the (Sedgwick County) commission voted last month to halt all work on the project from 53rd Street North to the county line.”
The Arkansas River belongs to all of us in Kansas and we deserve the right to use it for recreation. Some of us like rivers for their beauty and interesting wildlife diversity. We shouldn’t have to go to a different state to enjoy what we have right here at home.
The Meramec River, in Missouri, has many access ramps for the public and it remains a scenic part of Missouri's outdoor recreation.

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