Rivers and public access

HoLeChit

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With my fancy new canoe, I have the urge to adventure when time allows. One close and easy opportunity that I have is the Canadian rivers. Let’s say I drop my canoe in the river and paddle on down stream. This would technically take me through or near private property. Assuming I don’t go stomping through someone’s back yard, is this considered trespassing? Is there a legal definition of what I can and cannot do? Could I paddle around and go fishing off a sandbar, and not break any laws? Does private property stop on the river bank? I remember doing this sorta thing as a kid, but now as an adult, I would prefer to avoid getting in trouble.
 

PBramble

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I may be incorrect, but as I understand it the landowner owns the land to the center of the waterway. The water is not owned by them, so you may remain in your canoe in the water. You may not step out onto the land without permission. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
 

Catt57

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https://oklahoma.gov/search.html?q=water+law

Screen shots from the .pdf in the first search result there.

upload_2021-3-10_14-17-55.png upload_2021-3-10_14-18-52.png


https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Wiki/access:ok
Oklahoma Navigability Report

Summary

Oklahoma is OK for boaters. Boaters may use any stream capable of floating them. Whether this right includes any use of the bottom, including wading and pushing-off with a paddle, or right of portage, however, is unclear.
 

Catt57

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With my fancy new canoe, I have the urge to adventure when time allows. One close and easy opportunity that I have is the Canadian rivers. Let’s say I drop my canoe in the river and paddle on down stream. This would technically take me through or near private property. Assuming I don’t go stomping through someone’s back yard, is this considered trespassing? Is there a legal definition of what I can and cannot do? Could I paddle around and go fishing off a sandbar, and not break any laws? Does private property stop on the river bank? I remember doing this sorta thing as a kid, but now as an adult, I would prefer to avoid getting in trouble.


See above. /\/\
 

HoLeChit

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Alright. It sounds safe to say that as long as I am floating and not anchoring, tying off, or standing in the water I am in the clear.

question to follow up:

I have noticed that some of the land along the rivers is owned by the local municipality, county, or state. Does such land/banks have the same laws regarding it as privately owned land?
 

1shott

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Water belongs to the people of the state ok Oklahoma.

The land belongs to individual land owners, you have to have permission to cross land to access water, BUT if you can access water thru a public or private easement you can paddle anywhere to your hearts content, just dont get out and walk around.

Example, creeks are running, if you can access a creek and enter the creek in a boat, you can ride that creek to your hearts content, even into a watershed, fish, paddle whatever, but get out and touch land, bam you get nailed for trespassing.
 

HoLeChit

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Alright. It sounds safe to say that as long as I am floating and not anchoring, tying off, or standing in the water I am in the clear.

question to follow up:

I have noticed that some of the land along the rivers is owned by the local municipality, county, or state. Does such land/banks have the same laws regarding it as privately owned land?
And on a similar fashion, islands on a public lake? I've always wanted to take a boat to the islands on tenkiller, sardis, and texoma lakes and wander around. Are these publicly owned, or otherwise? I do know that the island on the far west end of texoma is privately owned, used to be a Cherokee cemetery there, i think.
 

bigred1

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And on a similar fashion, islands on a public lake? I've always wanted to take a boat to the islands on tenkiller, sardis, and texoma lakes and wander around. Are these publicly owned, or otherwise? I do know that the island on the far west end of texoma is privately owned, used to be a Cherokee cemetery there, i think.
We tie up or drop anchor at Pontoon Island on Tenkiller all the time and swim and picnic for the day. Nobody has ever said anything to us.
 
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