The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Who Owns America’s Riverbanks? 

    Since Roman Emperor Justinian, the principle of public access to the banks of waterways has influenced the laws of the civilized world. On 20 feet of beach along California’s Russian River, John Harreld and vacation homeowner Mark O’Flynn have created a two-year microcosm of a nationwide struggle: between the increasing rights of riverfront property owners and the codified right of, say, kayakers, to enjoy the riverside up to the high-water mark. But even law enforcement sometimes backs those posting “no trespassing” signs, leaving visitors the burden of proving they can disembark in peace.

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