removing vegitation

There seem’s to be a gray area I could use some advice on

I love to paddle the little creeks near my home in Wisconsin. On a paddling club web site they were thanking the people that kept a creek open. I called the DNR about a creek in a public hunting grounds and they said you could not remove any vegetation.

I do not want to get in trouble but I would like to clear the creeks near my home.

Does the rule apply to dead vegetation?

The guy I talked to on the DNR chat line Trevor said that if I stepped on private land I would be trespassing.

Then I talked to the sheriffs dept and he read me 1055j

sec. 16 it said you could portage the shortest path around an obstruction.

so he was wrong about that was he wrong about the vegetation too?

I mean I’m not removing it I just moving it! LOL

I DO NOT want to get in trouble so this is important to me.

Thank YOU


West has a computer terminal at your local law library, poss in the Courthouse area.

With West use an English language search for your question in State.

West is a complex device meant to be use able and it is…read thru the directions.

The public lands areas are managed with intelligence. What you see as an obstruction may be an essential component of a larger structure or planning system.

I have ‘cleared the way’ but always the way could be interpreted several different ways including not clearing the way. There’s no escaping this conclusion…that’s the foundation for the management aspect.

With West, a relatively final decision appears. More or less…

There’s a way but not sure about details
Our local club (probably the same club you referred to) has been keeping a creek passable for many years. The creek flows through public hunting land, and the clearing has been approved by the DNR.

You might also contact this site:

I think that the guy who founded this organization might be less active nowadays, or even quit. But I know he’s cleared a lot of mileage, all with the DNR’s blessing.

The point is, because of this, there must be some wiggle room in the law, of which the guy you talked to at the DNR was not aware.

Bear in mind that wholesale removal of deadfall is not the idea, most of the time. Opening a narrow pathway here and there as needed has little impact on the creek.

I realize this isn’t a definitive answer, but it shows that the possibility exists for this to be legal.

force them to give you an answer
As difficult as it may be, I’d force the DNR to give you an answer.

rule here is machete use no saw…

I wonder how many paddlers are aware
that some state DNRs add deadfall, or “Large woody Debris” to streams.

the stream itself may not qualify as public use age.

Asking a landowner maybe asking a hornet’s nest.

uh…‘let sleeping dogs lie’ ?

Michigan recommendatons
These came in from the Michigan DNR - for smaller clearing that doesn’t require a permit. We work with the local Township (Meridian) when we do our annual Red Cedar clearing. Plans are in process to do some more this spring on the Looking Glass.

Note that every state can be different so These may not apply elsewhere.

Woody Debris Management Techniques

Managing Logjams through the Clean and Open Method. The Clean and Open

Method of Woody Debris Management has been specifically developed to give

guidance on how to manage logjams, preserving the benefits they provide while

minimizing the problems they can create. The following method can be used at

individual sites effectively and is designed to be part of a larger riparian corridor

management plan.

  1. PLAN – Address public health, legal access, safety concerns, define point of

    access to river, determine depth of water, flow and emergency plans.
  2. CLEAN – Remove trash and dispose of properly.
  3. OPEN – Move or cut loose, floating debris to allow a passage of flow.
  4. Place excess woody debris along streambanks and in the adjacent riparian

    corridor to create habitat.
  5. Leave woody debris that is embedded in the stream’s banks or bottom undisturbed.
  6. Minimize impact to the riparian corridor at the work site.

Well I recontacted the DNR via online chat. As suggested.

In Wisconsin you allowed to remove dead vegetation\wood

but you can not place it on the shore. So you can cut and move it but not put it on the bank. Then I asked if a tree that was uprooted and laying in the water was considered dead she said dead.

So I saved the chat and the portage law and I am going laminate them and keep them on board the good ship “cripple creek ferry” for “breaking thru the over hanging tree’s” I might have to change the name now that I can walk again. I must add WOOOOOO HOOOOOO i CAN FRIGGEN WALK AGIN!!!

when ever I do that I get tears of joy!

thanks for everyone’s help

and if any cheese heads need a copy let me know and I will get you one.

We are running the class II part of the beaver dam river and down to lipsige tavern. tomorrow if anybody wants to have some fun. It is a super fun run the dam is OPEN!

I will check back in the am just in case there some as crazy as us to paddle the river in December but heck man it’s going to be close to 50 deg. out.


Trees are on the banks owned by ?

Are not dead ?

Find your creek’s status as ‘navigable’ or not…there’s a list…navigabe is a statute.

Prob a wiki…

its not that
my opinion lies against your enthusiasm for removing obstructions but with knowledge of potential liability for property vandalism.

Cutting ‘overhanging’ branches from valuable furniture or pulp wood trees…once mature if not now …could ruin your day.

Second, the situation may be ongoing from 1 AD. You stepped into a serious…to those involved…situation requiring immediate vigilante action against you.

explain point one
as in for example…legal access ?

hi D K

– Last Updated: Dec-05-15 10:22 AM EST –

My I ask where you are from? I find your writing very interesting. I know my grasp of the English language. Is poor my spelling and gramer are bad. Spell check can't even figure out what I am saying. LOL

The point here is I don't want to get intotrouble.
I am very courteous considerate person.
If everyone remembered what we learned in kindergarten
it would be a great world.
The laws are guide lines and gray area will allways be there. I stopped for permission at a farm. Before I could speak the farmer saw my canoe and said angrily I sapose you are here for navigable water way hunting.
He had 2 guys walking his ditch hunting he called the cops had them arrested and went to court the judge thru it out because of the way the navigable law was written.
It was not intended for people to hunt the men knew that it is for portaging. So if that keeps up they have to amend the law because some people forgot what they learned in kindergarten.
those guys should get a double fine if you ask me.
But once I told him why I was there. it was all good baby!
I am going to keep the rules on board so if I can not find the owner and a "vigilante" shows up It might keep me from being vigilanted

writing varies
right. I paddled into an ongoing situation developed from an inheritor inheriting mansion and decades old traditional swimming hole across the street in a navigable waterway…for logging.

the inheritor, a flatlander, was carrying a large 357

we, upland owners, were carrying paddles.

the inheritor was fortunate we are reasonable.

Commercial value of tree not an issue
I don’t know if you’ve ever been to midwest farm country and seen how logging is done here, but the idea that creek-side trees that are half toppled or fully toppled into the river might have commercial value requires quite a stretch of imagination. The owner might take issue with someone cutting a path, just on principle or to be ornery (most land owners won’t care), but you can be pretty sure that the tree is never going to earn him any money.

It is interesting the different interpretations that various people will have of this. Last time this was discussed, one self-proclaimed expert said that there is a state agency that would be more than willing to go remove such blockages if the problem was simply brought to their attention, as it’s part of their job. Total nonsense, but it was entertaining to see such a viewpoint and to speculate on how a person could come up with such an idea.

removing vegetation
Dead woody debris is one of the most dangerous hazards facing river canoeists. It is a good idea to remove it when possible and report it when it is not.

Live vegetation should be left alone unless you have explicit written permission.


– Last Updated: Dec-06-15 1:49 AM EST –

Report it to whom? You didn't pick it up in context, but the OP is obviously not talking about popular whitewater runs here. Have you paddled a river that required a lot of drag-overs on the downed trees? Who's going to remove all that stuff, and for no better reason than you wish they would? In the meantime, paddlers like me are thankful the deadfall is there, as it creates solitude (though I don't begrudge anyone the chance to cut a narrow path).

In any case, the "cut it or tell someone else to" response does not even address the question that was asked.

I had to look up riparian
but after I did that makes sense. I think I am going to keep a copy of that on board because most of the farmers I run into will not know riparian like me (a farm boy) and they won’t want to sound stupid. And then I will look all offical. And that is what I am doing.


If you cut a tree on private property, that property owner may have a legitimate objection.

an eye-opener for y’all

– Last Updated: Dec-07-15 11:49 AM EST –

Don't freak out if you find out that not only do people disagree on whether deadfall should be in streams, but also that some regulatory authorities actually deposit it in streams.