Thanks to efforts of the Arkansas Canoe Club, American Canoe Association and other organizations, Arkansas State Representative Milligan Hathorn has withdrawn his anti-recreational legislation that would have dramatically reduced access to Arkansas rivers and streams to paddlers, fishermen, swimmers and others. These paddling organizations mobilized quickly and urged member to contactr Representative Hathon and voice their displeasure with the bill. Hathorn is restricted from introducing this bill again during this legislative session.
At issue is the navigabilty of Arkansas rivers and streams, and private property rights. Hathorn^s bill would have given those who own property along stream corridors ownership of the actual streambed and would have allowed adjacent property owners to erect barriers across streams, preventing paddlers from paddling that portion of the stream.
Hathorn has expressed an interest in working with paddlers to develop a more "paddling-friendly" bill, and plans to reintroduce a new version of this bill in a future session. Paddlers need to be aware that this issue may arise again in the future, and be prepared to take the necessary action to ensure that public access to Arkansas rivers and streams is protected.