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FAQs about federal law regarding public ownership, use, and conservation of rivers
Why River Rights? »
NOR is the organization that focuses on achieving public-trust ownership of rivers, conserving rivers through public-trust ownership, and ensuring the public's legal rights to enjoy rivers
National Board of Directors
The current directors of the National Organization for Rivers (NOR) are now seeking new directors to serve on the national Board of Directors. Directors will determine how best to educate the public about the public easement on rivers nationwide. They will review finances for past years and adopt budgets for coming years. They will elect new directors and officers, and hire new staff members, as needed to continue the NOR mission of educating the public about the public easement on rivers.
NOR is particularly seeking directors who are river users in states where the public easement on rivers is often disputed (including Virginia, Georgia, Kansas, Colorado, and Utah,) as well as states where the easement is sometimes disputed (including New York, Texas, California, and most other states). If you are interested in helping to stop unlawful interference with the public easement on rivers in your state and nationwide, and you have some experience in public policy, law, writing, negotiating with government agencies, or related areas, please send an e-mail to email@example.com describing your interests and experience.
Candidates should be experienced river users (experienced in canoeing, kayaking, rafting, fishing, duck hunting, or general river recreation). They should also have sufficient business experience to evaluate finances and budgets, direct fundraising efforts, and evaluate how NOR can work most efficiently to improve public rights on rivers.
The National Organization for Rivers (NOR) was founded in 1978 by the following Board of Directors:
- Gary Lacy, President. (Public administrator, engineer, kayaker. Designed river parks, including play holes and slalom parks, in numerous locations.)
- Ben Harding, Vice President. (Hydrologist, river conservationist, kayaker.)
- Eric Leaper, Executive Director. (Former Executive Secretary of the American Canoe Association, kayaker, rafter, writer, editor.)
- Fletcher Anderson, Director. (Film-maker, co-author of Rivers of the Southwest, kayaker, coach, racer.)
- Earl Perry. (Author of Rivers of Colorado, former raft guide, former river ranger.)
- John Garren, Director. (Author of Oregon River Tours, engineer, rafter.)
The current directors are:
- Eric Leaper, President and Executive Director
- Vanessa Jones, Vice-President and Development Director
- Brian Galloway, Secretary-Treasurer and Circulation Director
About the current directors
Eric Leaper learned to kayak from French kayak champion Roger Paris in the 1960s. Even in those years, he realized that there were river access problems. His passion for rivers continued to grow in subsequent years. He wrote articles for river magazines, and later worked for the American Canoe Association, the national association that is in charge of U.S. participation in international canoe and kayak racing. Eric, along with other colleagues and friends, discussed the fact that there was no organization dealing effectively with river access and conservation law. After several conversations with other river enthusiasts, they started NOR to address these issues.
Helping others enjoy the beauty of rivers
Eric also led expert kayak, raft, and canoe trips to Chile and Argentina for ten seasons in the 1980s and 1990s. To the left is a photo of one of the groups at dinner in Chile. Below and to the right is a photo of Eric running one of the waterfalls of the Seven Teacups (Siete Tazas in Spanish) in Chile. Over the course of his life, Eric has navigated hundreds of rivers in numerous countries, which helps him understand and apply river law in real-world river circumstances.
For the past three decades, Eric has also been an expert witness in river-related litigation, working to negotiate and reconcile the diverse claims of lawyers, corporations, landowners, judges, commercial operators, and the river using public.
Vanessa Jones is an experienced outdoorsman, athlete, and marketing and development executive who is dedicated to ensuring public rights on the rivers and trails of the nation and the world.
Brian Galloway is an experienced fisherman, rafter, and social activist. He is dedicated to ensuring public rights to fish and walk along the gravel bars and banks of rivers, as well as navigate down the middle of rivers, large and small.
Defending public river rights, now and for future generations
Today, the mission of NOR is to improve public access on rivers nationwide, through public education and negotiation with landowners and government agencies. The book Public Rights on Rivers explains in detail how and why the public has rights to recreate on rivers, based on ancient law and the history of river uses, Acts of Congress, Supreme Court decisions, additional federal court decisions, and other long-established law. The newest book, Public Rights on Rivers in Every State and through Federal Lands, explains these decisions regarding public rights in a concise, inexpensive book that can easily be distributed to government agencies, law enforcement officers, landowners, and river users everywhere.
Today, there is still massive confusion about public rights on rivers at all levels of government, and among river users and riverfront landowners. However, experience has shown that when river law is explained to people, in writing and in person, people do acknowledge river rights, and great progress can be made.
In sum, the NOR mission is to foster a world in which public rights to use rivers, in non-destructive ways, will be honored in all places and for all generations, now and forever.