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Friday
Apr062012

Public Access at Risk in Virginia

In Virginia, the state attorney general is refusing to intervene on behalf of the people, especially the people who fish. A Virginia landowner is suing two anglers for trespassing on a portion of the Jackson River based on crown and commonwealth land grants, which precede the founding of this country, and, consequently, Virginia law.

By contrast, Virginia law states that all river and stream beds are public property. Additionally, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) officially is on the side of anglers. According to both, the anglers did not trespass on private property.

DGIF stocks the Jackson with trout, using funds from fishing license fees and federal excise taxes on fishing tackle. Plus, launch ramps paid for with public money provide access to this stretch of the river.

“Because the attorney general’s office refuses to intervene, these two anglers are now defending rights of all of Virginia’s anglers, boaters, and outdoor enthusiasts in court,” says Keep America Fishing.

“If the court decides in favor of the real estate developer, property owners across the state could deny access to anglers and other recreationists on stretches of water for which they hold crown or commonwealth grants.”

Go here to learn more and to send a message to Gov. Bob McDonnell and Virginia’s attorney general’s office, requesting the state to defend the interests of the state and its people.

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