Rivers, streams, oceans, and forests have been public since before recorded history... and it is our government's responsibility to maintain them for the public's reasonable use. We fight to defend our rivers and streams against privatization.

How It Works

The public trust doctrine is the principle that certain resources are preserved for public use, and that the government is required to maintain them for the public's reasonable use. Within the Potomac watershed and adjacent states, there have been attempts by private landowners to claim ownership of the river bottom or dictate and limit public use of the waterway.

In response we:

> Block legal claims to restrict or eliminate rivers from public use.

> Advocate for laws that protect public river us.

Case Studies

Jackson River - King's Grant Claim

Potomac at Harper's Ferry - Bottom Ownership Claim

Dry River in the Shenandoah Valley - King's Grant Claim

Virginia Legislation - Bottom Ownership Clarification

Latest Updates

Coast Guard Announces Interim Security Zone along the Potomac

The Coast Guard recently announced an interim rule establishing a security zone that encompasses approximately two miles along the Potomac River. The restrictions prevent boaters and recreational users from being on the water when the security zone is in effect. We urge you to send comments to the Coast Guard, asking them to develop a plan to notify paddlers […]