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Who owns the Mokelumne River?

Lodi’s search for a public access point has been hard-fought, but solutions have proved elusive

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Posted: Saturday, November 19, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:21 am, Sat Nov 19, 2011.

As a boat turns out of Lodi Lake, the sluggish Mokelumne River opens up to towering trees and soaring birds.

The Lodi Lake Nature Area is quiet, while one man sits on a bench overlooking the water.

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  • Robert Chapman posted at 12:33 pm on Tue, Nov 22, 2011.

    Bob Chapman Posts: 997

    I said WE didn't have any accidents. The accident I referred to was someone not with our ski group.

  • Robert Chapman posted at 12:31 pm on Tue, Nov 22, 2011.

    Bob Chapman Posts: 997

    During the 60's we used the stretch of river from Woodbridge to hwy 99 to water ski. Sometimes 6-7 days a week during the summer. We were always respectful of properties and never left a mess, We floated down from hwy 99 before the dam was closed cleaning fallen trees and hazards. We did not have any accidents either. It wasn't until people came out with BIG cruisers sightseeing down the middle of the river at slow speeds that I remember the first accident and it wasn't the ski boats fault. The river traffic eventually got so bad we abandoned it as a convient place to ski. The last time I was on the river (a few years ago) I was flabbergasted by the amount of trash along the banks. As usual, some jerks ruin it for all.

  • roy bitz posted at 11:22 pm on Sun, Nov 20, 2011.

    roy bitz Posts: 503


    The idea of opening the old dump site should be considered then abandoned.

  • roy bitz posted at 11:16 pm on Sun, Nov 20, 2011.

    roy bitz Posts: 503

    Thank you LNS/ Maggie Creamer for documenting how these developments were able to work around State law regarding access to the river. Interesting.

    Two comments:

    I urge the city to consider establishing a "safe" speed limit on this stretch of water. There have been collisions and deaths caused by power boats colliding with small boats.

  • Marcia Pothast posted at 7:40 pm on Sat, Nov 19, 2011.

    Marcia Pothast Posts: 11

    The river traffic is scary. I can't imagine wanting to take a kayak out there to compete with the jet skis. Fact is this is not a very big river as it runs through Lodi.

  • carlene serra posted at 5:52 pm on Sat, Nov 19, 2011.

    caryls Posts: 3

    A final comment to those of you who responded.....No, I didn't imply that private home owners feel they own the river, but as a home owner, we have certain rights. We have a right not to have boaters speeding in a 5 mile zone. I have nothing against kayakers. They are there to enjoy the water, but when you start letting people have access in multiple areas of the river, - that invades homeowners' right to privacy. And, my final comment is that when there are a lot of boats, jet skis, and kayakers in the water without proper control of the area, there will be accidents.

  • John Kindseth posted at 1:08 pm on Sat, Nov 19, 2011.

    John Kindseth Posts: 246


    "...from one to 4 OF their...."

  • John Kindseth posted at 1:07 pm on Sat, Nov 19, 2011.

    John Kindseth Posts: 246

    Public parks have visual and police access anywhere from one to 4 or their sides.

    The river has ZERO.

    Kayakers are welcome 24 hours a day. They are a more civilized group.

  • Alex Kennedy posted at 11:17 am on Sat, Nov 19, 2011.

    Alex Posts: 215

    Public land and waterways are by definition PUBLIC. Just because it feels like it's yours or some real estate agent neglected to tell you it wasn't, does not make it yours. You can't keep the poor kids out forever and it's wrong to even try.

    Ron: Well said.

  • Ron Werner posted at 10:50 am on Sat, Nov 19, 2011.

    Ron Werner Posts: 101

    I find it paradoxical and frankly very selfish, that homeowners are perfectly fine with having their private docks on the public river but so against having the public use the public river. People who live next to public property should have an expectation that the public will use it and they have no control over the people who do. Ask anyone who lives next to a park. It's great not having a house close by but the trade off is you might have to put up with barking dogs, screaming kids or trash that blows into your yard. Yes, Ms Serra, people who use public property frequently break the law. Not every driver obeys the speed limits on our public roads. When someone passes you going 70 in a 65 mile zone it probably doesn't get a reaction from you. The same should apply to boaters. The problem stems from the fact you chose to purchase a house next to public land you act as if it's your own.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:58 am on Sat, Nov 19, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Ms Serra stated...who is going to patrol the river? - who is going to develop that area? - the owner of the kayak business that seems to be in cahoots with City Hall????!!!!!

    Ms Serra makes a good point. I would think the details would be in writing by those who are making the proposal.

    I have walked the nature trail that begins at Lodi Lake and noticed jet ski's and boats going fast and with much noise following the river.. The thought crossed my mind that I would not enjoy living in the river front homes that had to deal with that disturbance to their wonderful location.

    If I were a home owner there, I would attempt to negotiate an overall control of the area and a guarantee from the city to control the noise pollution as well as safety. This problem already exists... why not take advantage of the proposed development and solve everything all at once?

    I must be missing something as this whole thing seems odd.

  • John Sheckles posted at 8:45 am on Sat, Nov 19, 2011.

    TheBossJohn Posts: 5

    Clearly it is all about the money. The few people within city government who lined their pockets to allow a few developers to get rich. The people who bought river front property are not to blame.

    The river front people do however need to understand, under state and federal law, the do not own the river. That said, once a person is in the river (from where ever they are allowed to enter), they can seek land on either side of the river at any point they wish. The water and waters edge is public not private.

  • carlene serra posted at 6:16 am on Sat, Nov 19, 2011.

    caryls Posts: 3

    Our home is one of those pictured on the front page. We built the dock & paid well for that location. Every year we are bombarded with power boats & other water craft speeding into a 5 mile an hour area. My question is, if you open up the area (that used to be a shooting range & needs cleaned up!), who is going to patrol the river? - who is going to develop that area? - the owner of the kayak business that seems to be in cahoots with City Hall????!!!!!



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