Virginia Chapter Sierra Club

Virginia Should Clarify the Right to Paddle! Vote YES on SB 629

PaddlerYou may not know it, but kayakers and canoeists who splash overboard can be charged with trespassing if they stop to wade in the wrong stretch of river. A day of fun in the great outdoors ending with a court summons? As outragous as it sounds, it's happening in Virginia. 

Virginia's laws have not kept pace with the changing times, and many laws date back to when boats were used only for commerce. Over the past fifty years, there has been significant growth in the popularity of paddlesports, but in Virginia it is not clear whether travel by recreational canoes and kayaks on streams passing through private land is legal. 

SB629 seeks to clarify the ambiguity of laws related to stream and river access, while protecting property rights and the ecology along Virginia streams. The bill would prevent trespass charges being brought against a recreational paddler simply passing along on a stream.

Contact your Senator today, and ask them to vote YES on SB629! 

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Virginia Should Clarify the Right to Paddle! Vote YES on SB 629

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to ask you to support SB 629. This bill will clarify that citizens have the right to responsibly travel on Virginia's streams and rivers in non-motorized recreational boats. This is a fun and healthy activity that has been growing in popularity in the Commonwealth. Establishing this clarity helps Virginia natural resources agencies, local parks departments, and tourism development further our goals of attracting visitors and enabling our citizens to enjoy leisure without leaving our state.



Many good citizens of Virginia and the USA have come to prize the rewards of recreational paddling. They often hold responsible positions and make valuable contributions to our economy and society. Please let these good people know that recreational paddling is welcome in Virginia. Please vote YES on SB 629.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

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