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Thread: texas river beds re-opened

  1. #1
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    texas river beds re-opened

    I was kinda surprised to read this GA News article,
    as I hadn't read anything about this issue here on SC.org.
    From the article:

    "A new Texas law has reopened riverbeds to backcountry pilots.Aircraft were prohibited from landing on riverbeds as an unintended consequence of a previous Texas law that stated “a person may not operate a motor vehicle in or on a protected freshwater area......
    HB 4436 was passed in June 2021, allowing the operation of an aircraft in or on a protected freshwater area."

    Texas riverbeds reopen to backcountry pilots — General Aviation News
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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  2. #2
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I was gonna post on this but didn't get to it. Years ago during the drought kids were running up and down the river beds on 4 wheelers at all hours of the night raising hell and not making friends of the local land owners. A bill was passed prohibiting motor vehicles from the river beds. My local game warden and law enforcement interpreted it like I did and had no issue with us landing on the gravel bars. Down south however some land owners were getting upset with the noise from constant speed props every morning and pushed the issue with their local law enforcement and signs were posted at the adjacent airports. Tres Clinton who is an instructor and uses the river bars while training in his Super Cub. Took this on. He got a sponsor, talked to the house member who got the initial bill passed and got support for a new bill specifically allowing aircraft to use the river beds. The problem in Texas is the amount of private land. The river is public land but very little public access. Luckily we have a tool that allows us access. I followed this bill through the house, senate and to the governor's desk. It received no opposition and is now passed. The one thing Tres and I have talked about is that we must all be good stewards of the river bottoms because someone can seek to change this. Over the years I have had 3 altercations on the river, all hunters. They believe we scare the deer away but from my observations I tend to disagree. Regardless I am always nice and agree to stay away from their deer stand during deer season. One guy that was pretty agitated that we were camping on the gravel bar adjacent his land after some discussion found out one of the guys among us was the one who put on the big bike race he enjoys riding every year and left in a way better mood than he came to us in. I feel very fortunate that I can leave my hangar and be at the river in 10 minutes and have countless places to land and explore. I want to do everything in my power to retain that right.
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    Steve Pierce

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  3. #3
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    I was gonna post on this but didn't get to it. Years ago during the drought kids were running up and down the river beds on 4 wheelers at all hours of the night raising hell and not making friends of the local land owners. A bill was passed prohibiting motor vehicles from the river beds. My local game warden and law enforcement interpreted it like I did and had no issue with us landing on the gravel bars. Down south however some land owners were getting upset with the noise from constant speed props every morning and pushed the issue with their local law enforcement and signs were posted at the adjacent airports. Tres Clinton who is an instructor and uses the river bars while training in his Super Cub. Took this on. He got a sponsor, talked to the house member who got the initial bill passed and got support for a new bill specifically allowing aircraft to use the river beds. The problem in Texas is the amount of private land. The river is public land but very little public access. Luckily we have a tool that allows us access. I followed this bill through the house, senate and to the governor's desk. It received no opposition and is now passed. The one thing Tres and I have talked about is that we must all be good stewards of the river bottoms because someone can seek to change this. Over the years I have had 3 altercations on the river, all hunters. They believe we scare the deer away but from my observations I tend to disagree. Regardless I am always nice and agree to stay away from their deer stand during deer season. One guy that was pretty agitated that we were camping on the gravel bar adjacent his land after some discussion found out one of the guys among us was the one who put on the big bike race he enjoys riding every year and left in a way better mood than he came to us in. I feel very fortunate that I can leave my hangar and be at the river in 10 minutes and have countless places to land and explore. I want to do everything in my power to retain that right.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Good for Trey and you, Steve! This is the kind of task that can seem to be difficult and time consuming. But following through with the Legislature is the right thing to do.

    And, as you’ve demonstrated, minimizing conflict with other users will pay dividends down the road.

    MTV
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  4. #4

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    Had a great time landing off airport in the Lllano/perdrenales/colorado river areas this past week. I'm very grateful you guys were able to get this fixed! Just watch out for those wires and fences across the rivers, geeeze! Really gotta be on your toes down there!
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  5. #5
    Penguin's Avatar
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    Steve, what was the timeline for that whole process?
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  6. #6
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    A couple of months thanks to Covid. Filed 3-12-2021 and signed by the governor on 6-4-2021. https://legiscan.com/TX/bill/HB4436/2021
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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