Our river blog is dedicated to topics related to paddling the Upper James River region of Virginia. It includes paddle topics ranging from boating safety, paddling reports, boat landings, fishing reports, environmental stories, water levels, river related business writeups, cool river gear, pictures, and videos of any thing to do with paddling in the Upper James River watershed. We publish articles related to the Upper James, Jackson, Maury, & Cowpasture Rivers.
For the first time in over a decade, a concerted and organized effort to create and submit a bill was made through the hard work of many individuals and organizations. The result of this hard work was SB 737 which was sponsored by Senator Chap Peteresen (Fairfax).
On February 5, 2013 SB 737 was voted down on a 18-21 vote. Here’s how the vote broke down:
SB 737′s failure in the 2013 General Assembly does not mean that paddling on Virginia streams is illegal. It does mean that the right to paddle is not yet clarified and established. Keep on boating, keep talking to other boaters about the issue, and continue to present our activity as the positive recreation it is to everyone in your community.
But we’re not done yet! Those involved with this bill are committed to getting a bill passed that benefits paddlers, and we knew that this was not a one time try. We knew that the odds of passage were not great, but through the process we would learn what the opposition to the bill would be. And knowing these concerns we could then adjust the language of the bill to meet these concerns, spend time educating the legislators, and continue to build community support. And come 2014 we will submit a newer, stronger, bigger, better version of the bill.
For now, the best way to help is not to let the conversation die:
Find out how your Senator voted and later this spring schedule a meeting with them. If they supported it, get their thoughts on what we can do to improve the bill. If they opposed it, ask them what needs to be done to win their support.
Find more supporters: talk to your Chamber of Commerce, economic development, and tourism offices. Talk to outdoor stores, user groups, and clubs
Send a thank you note to Senator Chap Peteresen. He’s the one who sponsored this bill in the first place and he needs to know we’re not going anywhere.
Send a note to Delegate Greg Habeeb. He is a co-patron of the bill and says he will sponsor the bill in 2014. Between Peteresen and Habeeb we have a great chance at a joint bill next time around,.
Post ideas and suggestion on this site as well as the Facebook page