A report in a local newspaper has some upper Rogue residents upset. A new proposal by Senator Alan Bates would establish several paths along the upper stretches of the Rogue River and also create public areas along the stream to provide bathrooms and places for trash. The proposal is not limited to the Rogue, but would apply to all streams in the state of Oregon.
Residents Roger King and Gary Endicott believe it will do the opposite of what is intended. They believe that it will create a highway for crime, just as has the greenway along Bear Creek running through the heart of the valley. They also believe that it is “just a backdoor way of doing what the Navigability issue was intended to do.” That issue seems to be resolved, at least in part, by a recent supreme court ruling in Montana that says that the citizens own the land, not the state, if the river is not considered “navigable.”
The two further showed a map of the upper reaches of the river showing that there are numerous parks with facilities for depositing trash and restrooms available for boater and rafter use. Beginning at Dodge Bridge and traveling upstream, there is Dodge Bridge, Takelma Park, Shady Cove, Rogue Elk Park, Casey Park, MacGregor Park and River’s Edge Park at the foot of the Dam. At no point are those parks more than three miles apart, hardly a long distance between bathroom stops.
King and Endicott have some other differences with the proposal. When they bought property (Endicott has since moved from the river) they bought and paid for that property to the center of the river. King says they still pay taxes on the land even to the center of the river.
King complained to Jackson County Commissioner, C. W. Smith, who he says told him this would not happen here in Jackson County. According to King, Smith told him that none of the commissioners would support such a concept.
According to the story, Bates is proposing that landowners grant easements so that four more rest areas can be established between Lost Creek Dam and Touvelle Park on Table Rock Road. Bates said the parks could be established with Lottery Funds and could be maintained by county Parks personnel and patrolled by the Sheriff’s department. King and Endicott both said that the state has no money for the establishment of parks, the county has no budget for maintaining and patrolling the waysides.
According to the two, there is an apparent danger in landowners allowing access to lands. They maintain that people have no respect for private property, and they would have unwanted guests at all hours of the day and night. “What’s to prevent boaters from spending nights at the layover spots,” asks Endicott. “Or having transients camping along the river’s trails like they do along Bear Creek?”
By Ralph McKechnie