I have a multiday paddling trip planned along the Amite River in Louisiana. The Amite has massive sand point bars that are along the river and I plan on making those our campsites. I am concerned about property lines in Louisiana because I really don’t want to catch any trespassing charges. We are planning on only camping in remote areas (according to Google Earth) but I want to know the laws regarding the property along rivers in this state to know my rights. Are there any Louisiana land lawyers who paddle that can help me out?
I’d call your DNR to ask.
Technically if you are on a navigable river, the river bed is considered to extend to the highest point the river rises to, so usually if you are on the sand you are OK, however that is difficult to explain to Bubba and his shotgun in an convincing way at midnight. Best to ask a local outfitter or guide where you can and cannot camp. Over on the Sabine on the Texas/Louisiana border, the land owners do not mind, but The Amite’s inhabitants my be different.
It is incorrect to assume that private ownership always stops at the high water mark in all states. This varies. For ex that is not true in Maine, where ownership goes to the mean LOW tide. Visiting paddlers can find this out the hard way in southern Maine when the property owner calls the sheriff on their lunch break.
Just looked at Louisiana, and would not count on those sand bars being available if a property owner is physically nearby. It appears the Bass fishing competition folks butted up against this at one point, had to move a planned tournament.
Best to call the state office in Louisiana that can answer this question. As someone mentioned above, a local property owner may not bother to call the sheriff.
It’s important to know where one is as well as where one belongs. If banjo-plucking music is audible, paddle on.
All fair, so far I have called about 10 different offices around Louisiana. These laws also depends on the river. Apparently the Red River has its own consortium that operates a lot of the islands in the river, and the Mississippi is under the jurisdiction of the army corp of engineers. With regards to the Amite I am still looking for answers. I might have to ask a lawyer friend of mine to see if there is anything on the books.
I will keep y’all updated on anything that I learn. I will also be sure to keep an ear out for banjos.
Yes, it’s variable as far as private property.
There are sometimes environmental concerns as well. On the White Cliffs of the Missouri for example, camping is allowed on islands, but strongly discouraged due to nesting birds.
I was raised and currently live not too far from the Amite River and very curious about your trip. Louisiana law on river banks is complex and a hodge podge of local and traditional usage. Theoretically by the La. Navigable Rivers Act one can stop on the bank, (low to high water mark) but as someone pointed out it varies locally by tradition rather than law. The Amite is a large river with a wide floodplain so one sees very few buildings along the banks. This river has some different segments that are of varying character, as far as people. Bottom line generally, you can camp overnight. Just don’t make a lot of naise, be respectful and police your trash and human waste. Let me know what areas you plan on going and I can advise you further. Three things for certain, 1. you cannot leave your vehicle just anywhere along the banks. It must be in a secure area. 2. Do not plan to paddle in the Diversion Canal., at the very lower end. 3. This time of year up to late Sept. is very hot. One must hydrate and have a wide brimmed hat. The sun can be fierce. (also watch for hurricanes).
The bangoes were near the Chatooga River in SC. Quite a way from La. I’ve been there several times. No bangoes.
It’s not a question of ownership. For instance in La. One is allowed to stop on the bank and the bank is defined as between the low and high water marks, even tho the property is still privately owned.
It is a question of ownership if the owner has the right and an inclination to enforce it. Again, this can vary by state. If LA has exemptions of some kind built in it helps. But in ME there are only two exclusions provided to allow a boater to legally stop above the mean low tide on private property, and neither apply well to kayaking. Camping, or even stopping for a lunch break, are not allowed exemptions.
If you end up with a broken boat somehow practicalities win. Doesn’t mean that a particularly touchy property owner in southern Maine would not express a wish you had broken your boat somewhere else.
Downeaster scowl towards my beached prow,
quite shore in my trespass,
though tide be low I had to go,
I’d wronged his rights he stressed,
So often coarse and oft discourse,
civil washed out on squaw,
and rights roared strong see not self wrong,
most common is that law.
And, pullin’ String…
That’s one neat trick!
of one-beat Nick.
You are correct, but my remarks referred to my previous post, in which the Navigable Waters Act of La. was cited. According to our Civil Code a boat on a navigable river is allowed to stop temporarily along the shore, which is an area between the high and low water marks regardless of ownership. Practically speaking it is not always looked on that way.
Is overnight camping temporarily? Or does that just mean to grab a snack and confirm where you are?
Local knowledge so major.
Theoretically, an overnighter would be allowed, but as someone stated previously, tell that to an angry landowner. The river in question is very diverse in terms of population density. The upper part has very very few structures, so if you research Google Earth aerials, choose wisely, and comport yourself in a decent manner one will be O.K. The lower part is more populated and more care in the choosing would be a good idea.
Local landowners sometimes find beer cans, trash, and human waste on their beaches. We all suffer from the sins of the self absorbed paddler.
Not the best written statute… Temporarily could be taken to mean different things once someone is actually sitting on a location with the tent up. I am sure some court has ruled on it but.
There are a couple of locations in the Adirondacks where court arguments went on for years about whether paddlers could pass thru a certain spot of very low water. Which started happening after a new landowner bought the property. The hodge podge of laws and regs around paddling access are a pain.