Please post new ideas for things we can do... once we have a few we can vote on what to do next.
Meanwhile write to your MP and vote on 38 degrees
Invite your MP for a paddle (include the MP's children if they have any) Invite the local press and TV. Explain why we have access issues to them
Invite your local press and families for a paddle. Explain why we have access issues to them
Find you local MP's offices and organise a face to face meeting with them when they are in the constituency.
Organise a river clean up to show what is dumped in our rivers (again get the press involved)
Get your local constabulary and there children paddling (a great eye opener to show the abuse we get on the rivers)
Run Kayak fishing courses to anglers to fish safely whilst afloat (again a great eye opener to show the abuse we get on the rivers as paddlers)
Just get out and enjoy your paddling.
If you take some nice photo's, don't just submit them here for us to look at.
Send a couple of your best ones to the local paper for publication.
Topic could be nature, family fun, or just a great composition.
Contact your local council and see if there is a way you can get something into there bimonthly news letter.
Also post stuff about canoeing on local boards.
Everybody contact paper, inform them of the situation, the drama of it all and the Griff Jones element (bit of celebrity stuff seems to temp most journalists these days).
Get as many stories in the paper as possible and keep them coming.
Seriously, today i read a story in my local rag about a larger than average carrot. The access saga will make better reading, i am certain of that. It should also draw out the anglers and i think that will strengthen our case in the public eye, since their arguments make very little sense.
At the very least, it may spare another bored commuter the tedium of reading about a carrot.
I'm writing to the richmond and twickenham times this weekend.
edit: it is important not to focus solely on canoeing, this issue affects everybody, dog walkers, families, picnickers, ramblers, etc..... and dont be afraid to use the 'think of the children' card either.
approach the Institute for outdoor learning for support. They will be up for it, some good people work for them.
get celebrities involved.
Ray Mears will probably help if approached in the right way (dont bombard him with emails, a few of us here who have met him on woodlore courses will know how best to get in touch with him)
Bear Grylles, he'd be up for it i'd bet.
Griff Jones, obvioulsy
Have every clean up this year on a river which we aledgedly don't have access to. Then send in the stories to the local papers with details of what canoeists are doing "illegaly" to the rivers
I started at the bottom and I like it here
Charity padddle, again on water here access is disputed, make it a local charity and involve local press, loook at what Dave is doing today,
Raising money to fight cancer.
How about we 'invite' EVERY angling association in England and Wales to set up a volountary agreement on sharing use of the river between anglers and paddlers? (recognising that these would be needed regardless of the final outcome of any test of the legal position of the right of Navigation, which need not be conceeded by either party)
We'd then see how serious they are about agreeing to access on a volountary basis.
Write to the river associations - they are meant to represent all those with an interest.
The outcome would demonstrate if there is any serious intent to honour that approach, or if its just a means of keeping people off the rivers for longer.
I don't understand why any voluntary agreement would be required if it were established that land owners have no right to control navigation on the rivers and that rivers were essentially free for access like a public footpath or a road? This what I understand Rev Caffryn is saying. If he is right we don't to ask anyone for a voluntary access agreement.
If I were an angler or land owner, I can't think of any benefit I get from 'letting' canoeists have access. I think that is the flaw in the idea of 'voluntary' access and why it has been a failure for decades.
By the way, you had lots of other really good ideas for future activities which you sent me... are you going to post those here too?
Most non-paddlers I talk to genuinely believe that we can get on any stretch of river, whenever and wherever we like, and paddle. They are quite shocked when I point out what the situation actually is. It offends their sense of natural justice.
I believe we need some sort of public protest to present the situation in such a way that it will be brought to the attention of more of the non-paddling public. After all, there is not much point in preaching to the converted.
If we protest politely and genteelly, we will be politely and genteelly listened to and ignored.
If we protest illegally and uncouthly, we will lose all moral high-ground and the protest will be counter-productive.
So we need to find a way of staging a legal protest that will cause enough of a ripple to attract the interest of the national media.
How about a polite and genteel "portage" to the Houses of Parliament - or, on a more local scale, to county council headquarters up and down the country. A hundred or so canoes being trundled on their trolleys over Westminster Bridge might do it. We could even argue that, as we are not allowed on 96% of the rivers in our country, we have to 'enjoy' our canoes on the highways of the capital!
(This is a similar idea to the mass tent-pitch we did in Worcestershire on the grounds of County Hall, when campaigning (successfully!) to stop the council from closing down two of our Outdoor Education Centres.)
Last edited by Rockhopper; 13th-March-2011 at 07:20 PM. Reason: clearing up the grammar!
Juvanile delinkwit, vaguely faffing around with a pair of pliers. Du skal ikke tro at du er bedre end mig!
We can do this,
- Not refer to it a campaign to get the right of access - it is about recognising existing public rights to navigate and use the water, not about getting to it, or about asking for right that does not exist.
- Document the position in other countries - ask our colleagues on the forums!
- Blogg all your trips (to show access is being made)
- Research and submit more historical evidence of public navigation and boating - pictures, news, recorded stories, local history, regattas, drownings, boat use. Anything that builds a picture of past use.
- Evidence to show paddling has limited environmental impact (and counter claims that it does)
- Write to other landowning organisations to get them to recognise the right (including all government and public organisations e.g councils, national trust)
- Campaign to get all those receiving public funds who own land, or have use of water, to recognise the public right as a condition of receiving OUR money.
- Show how paddling best occurs in a natural environment - clean water, free flowing (no weirs) and how paddlers can contribute to that environment (clean ups, removing obstructions to flow, reporting pollution etc)
- No present it as canoeing v angling - its about responsible shared use of natural public resources.
Tried it years ago and was told he is too busy with his own projects....Ray Mears will probably help if approached in the right way (dont bombard him with emails, a few of us here who have met him on woodlore courses will know how best to get in touch with him)
Radio five live are actively looking for stories.
Why not write to them:
A professionally made video that states the facts and issues, and interviews key people.
I can produce this as I make video for a living. But with it being a zero budget production I'd need people to help organising and suggesting interviews with key people, guiding to problem rivers to illustrate the problem etc. Headcam footage of the type of abuse received would be useful too. For the people that are involved in its production it would also make a good story for local papers ie "local person produces video to highlight river access issues" etc.
I note from Rev Caffryn thesis:
The Agency appoints statutory Regional Fisheries, Ecology and Recreation Advisory Committees. The primary interests of the members are as follows:-
Angling / Fisheries 91
Riparian Owners 6
On the more influential Chairman’s Committee which meets with the senior staff of the Environment Agency four times a year, all the chairmen have as their primary interest angling or fisheries.
Do we need canoeists on these committees?
Get Google Earth/Maps to label the only undisputed river navigations so people can see how pathetic it is. Label parts of rivers via photos etc that access hassles are encountered. Find a way to use Google Earth/Maps in general to highlight the cause.
Last edited by SimonMW; 17th-March-2011 at 12:08 PM.
Even if we have a right to Navigate, then that has to happen in co-operation with other river users.
I was suggesting we do so to see how serious other parties are about accommodating paddlers on rivers.
By asking them to set out what they would accept and why, it would show if they were serious and resonable, or simply delaying and fabricating reasons to object to other uses (whatever the legal basis). It would work both ways (are we serious and reasonable in what we ask?)
I would like to see two maps...
Map 1 shows all the rivers available to the angler who buy a rod license
Map 2 shows the 2-4% of rivers available to a canoeist who buys a BCU permit or members of the public who wants swim, picnic or walk next to a river.
A simple question... "Is This Fair?"
Is there a map of English Rivers?
I am writing to ask for your support in promoting access to rivers in England & Wales via the current campaign on the 38 Degree website.
You may already know that 38 Degrees is widely credited with being instrumental in getting the government to review it's proposals for selling off our forests. Currently 38 degrees is running a Save Our NHS campaign. In the space of a week their on-line petition has attracted nearly 200,000 signatures. They also have a process for identify other potential campaigns and this proposal
"Access rights in England
Rights to access the English countryside, including waterways, should more closely resemble those of Scotland. The land should be free for all to enjoy and use responsibly, it works in Scotland, it can work in England too."
has proved to be a focus for the support of many of us anxious to overcome the current lack of clarity over rights of access to rivers. You will see that the wording is wide enough to attract support from diverse groups of supporters but does specifically encompass the situation regarding rivers. Two weeks ago this proposal was ranked in over 300th position but currently has risen to 7th.
I urge you and your members to give as much support as possible to this campaign by registering you support on this page. Each individual is able to support with up to three votes which you cast by clicking on the "vote" button immediately below the votes total and to the left of the proposal. The part of the form devoted to making a comment is entirely separate and will not in itself contribute to the votes.
Thanks in anticipation of your support.
Last edited by KeithD; 18th-March-2011 at 11:18 AM. Reason: links added - they were in the original email
As we know, it is up to those who wish to exclude us from the rivers to prove we are at legal fault. Our aim should be to carry on paddling in an environmentally sensitive way, without breaking the known law or commiting trespass to gain access to rivers - none of this shows we are responsible.
I have contacted the EA for guidence on appropriate river levels/depth of water to prevent damage to breeding beds. I have asked them for their thoughts on minimum levels and listed my local rivers. I would hope that this approach to the EA will show how environmentally sensitive we are on the whole. If you read the EA's guidelines for river bailiffs you will see that the main reason that they can remove you from a river is due to low levels and damage to spawning grounds: http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/ea_guidance.pdf.
I think that even if paddling in disputed waters we are carefull to only boat at appropriate water levels we can help the perception of boaters greatly.
Below is the email I sent to the EA, feel free to send something similar with your local rivers on.
as a canoeist and kayaker both personally and professionally I make regular use of your online river level gauge service. This gives me the information I need to make the choice as to whether it is safe or environmentally appropriate to paddle some rivers. I feel this is especially important now as we enter the closed season for angling.
I would be interested to know if the EA has any guidance with regards to what river levels/depth of water they feel are appropriate for boating. At the present I am relying on my own judgement but would be happy to consult the EA to set a recommended low level ‘cut' off’ for boaters. I would greatly appreciate any feedback on the rivers in my area, Derbyshire, namely the Wye, Derwent, Dove, Lower Lathkill & Noe. I am not looking for any conversation on the right of access, merely an indication of a safe depth of water to avoid damage to spawning grounds.
Thank you for your time,
Not the best at getting my point across but I think they will get the message.
Knowingly disturbing spawning is a crime. That said there is no evidence that canoeing and kayaking or wild swimming etc actually disturbs spawning. There appears to be a lot of fishermen trying to push for this law to be a reason to aggravate canoeists. However I believe that a bailiff posted on one of the other forums a while back to say that seeing a canoe or kayak on the river didn't equate to disturbing spawning grounds.
It is a crime if you are shown to have disturbed beds during spawning/breeding season (even if there is no evidence of eggs/fish currently there). By keeping to higher water levels we can remove this risk.
This is as far as I'm aware the only reason (short of pollution and willful damage) that we can possibly be requested/forced to leave the water. We all know the access legal situation and its cloudy perception but we don't have to give anyone real reasons to exclude us from the water. Stay legal and considerate and we'll at least win the long game and if we get EA on side we're in a much better position.
I will post a reply if it comes.
The EA responded to my email about safe water levels during fish breeding seasons. Not much use but it gets the ball rolling. I'll pass this onto the BCU and see if I can get them both chatting.
Thank you for your enquiry regarding the River level service and and appropriate river depth for Navigation on the watercourses.
This is not something the Environment Agency have any proposals to implement in the near future.
I would recommend that you initially contact the British Canoe Union (BCU) in the first instance regarding this Pete.
They may already be looking into this matter or may have a resource they use to gauge this information.
The Environment Agency value feedback from our customers for the services we provide and services that our customers feel would benefit them.
If you would like us to consider this proposal please come back to us after you have spoken to the BCU.
If you have any further enquiries please contact us and we will be happy to help.
National Customer Contact Centre
Part of National Operations
(08708 506 506
E-mail to the BCU 21/3/11:
firstly I have been advised to contact the BCU by the Environment Agency with regards to identifying a safe level of water to avoid damage to spawning beds in rivers.
I have been directed to contact yourself but I am aware that this may not be you department and would appreciate any necessary redirection.
I originally contacted the EA for guidance on what they would consider an appropriate water level to be covering spawning grounds. The reasoning behind this being that this is the main objection to paddlers exercising their right to paddle during the fish breeding periods. I believe that in coming to an understanding involving the protection of breeding areas in river is very important for good relations between all water users. I also believe that any sensitive areas could be ‘flagged’ for voluntary restriction or EA restriction during breeding seasons or when the water is too low. This could operate like the very successful bird nesting closures operated by the EA and BMC on crags each year. The Cumbrian Greta has a good system of minimum flow level access during sensitive periods and as far as I’m aware this is a very successful and ‘stuck to’ practice.
I am not wishing to enter into a discussion on access and trespass as many with more education then me are struggling on that issue but I would like to begin exploring the possibility that we as paddlers can self regulate the rivers we use and show ourselves to be responsible environmentally when we do choose to paddle.
Has the BCU explored this option in the past or even undertaken any research in the matter? Would the BCU open discussions with environmental groups or even angling bodies on behalf of their members with a view to assessing the appropriate water levels for paddling within the fish breeding periods?
Thank you for your time.
Last edited by Pete in the Peak; 21st-March-2011 at 02:15 PM. Reason: To add email to the BCU
That seems like a bit of a buck pass from the EA... aren't they the experts in this matter? Someone else who would be good to contact is Chris Randall on this forum. He used to work for EA I think...
Maybe the angling trust has some info on this... http://www.anglingtrust.net/ You could ask them... their response would be interesting...
Okay, is anyone up for helping get the Google Earth/Maps thing off the ground?
Also, I think we need to do the following in good numbers.
1) Write to the canoe/kayak magazines and get them to highlight the campaign.
2) Get other outdoor mags to highlight the campaign.
3) Write to the newspapers, particularly the Sunday editions of the likes of the Times, Guardian etc which have more scope to feature such things in their various sections.
Personally I think it is a good idea to draw comparisons with the forest situation because a lot of people felt very strongly about that. Otherwise it just comes across as a few water users who can't use a few rivers (even if you do quote the 4% figure). The way to get people involved is to get them emotional about the subject.
Which brings me onto my video idea again. A properly made video is one of the best way to get people emotionally involved. It has much more impact that plain text. Sure, you can tell someone how a river is nice and lovely and that they can't go on it. But if instead you actually SHOW them the picturesque river, early morning with the mist and orange glow of the rising sun, and then from on the boat showing the unique perspective, the sound of the water etc, that makes all the difference.
I'm thinking of something that looks cinematic and beautiful rather than a dull environmental documentary that has all the emotional excitement of a Government information film.
What we desperately need is some credible economic research into the impact of denying access to commercial operators and visitors in the summer. Anecdotally:
- I was talking to a coach who runs a business near the midde Wye- I reckon he could more than double his business if he had more sensible access in the summer. When he has tried to use the rivers, he has been systematically challenged to the point where he can't take groups on the river on any sections that are not flat.
- When the Beacons National Park is asked about where people can paddle on holiday, they can only offer the canal or a Lake.
There is serious, measurable, direct and indirect impact of a small group denying public access to a natural resource. If we look at how Wales leverages its countryside, forest and coast, it is clear that the same could be done for rivers. Also with a proper access to rivers, the sum is greater than the parts and there would be a large economic benefit.
If there is anyone out there associated with an academic or economic body that could do this research in a credible way, it would be very valuable.
Ideally this would be the situation. Though unfortunately I do not think that it would be feasible. No harm in asking, but I would put money on his agent saying something along the lines of "Certainly, Griff would love to be involved in that. His day rate is £3000, and he likes to be involved directly in the script writing process."I for one rather like this idea, what if you could get someone like GRJ involved, he's been known to speak out on this subject before and will have access to resources within the media that we do not.
BTW, I'm not joking at the £3k per day rate either! Unless somebody knows him, the only way is through his agent. And that means the equivalent of banging our heads against a wall. Maybe we'll get lucky and he'll be reading this forum!
I'll get onto the task of writing a first draft of a script and I'll put it up for review when done and we can go from there.
Definitely this sort of thing should be looked into/highlighted.What we desperately need is some credible economic research into the impact of denying access to commercial operators and visitors in the summer. Anecdotally:
- I was talking to a coach who runs a business near the midde Wye- I reckon he could more than double his business if he had more sensible access in the summer. When he has tried to use the rivers, he has been systematically challenged to the point where he can't take groups on the river on any sections that are not flat.
I can take care of filming and editing too.Great idea for a video... looking forward to your script... anybody a budding film maker or has offspring who are?
Driving up and down the M3 each day I listen to a variety of radio shows. The last few days I have been pondering how SOTP could raise the profile of the whole access to rivers thing.
Every Saturday morning there is a radio show on talk sport (often referred to as talk sh*te).
called Fisherman Blues and is hosted by a guy called Keith Arthur. You know what they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer? This guy always sounds good natured and is mind of information, and from what I remember he is keen the environment, clean rivers and encouraging youth and generally a all round decent guy.
Now I dont have the gift of the gob, but I am sure someone could hold a decent discussion with him on the radio (perhaps pre planned) and try and encourage him to create a joint project to sort the whole mess out.
Just out of interest should someone point out to the fishermen that if they fished from canoes they would save a fortune in Fishing Fees.
maybe not: "Sadly – or stupidly and wastefully - by the time the passes were finished, abstraction from the Thames and its tributary the Kennet, was so bad none of the pea gravel which salmon need to cut their spawning redds was exposed. This is due to silt build up due to lack of flow (abstraction, and silt incursion from the Kennet and Avon canal, which another band of geniuses decided to open up at that time). [My emphasis].
Good idea in principal though.
Thinking about the Devizes Westminster race, hopefully by next year we will be in the position where every race boat might carry our Access Campaign sticker and we have volunteers handing out material to spectators and with laptops urging people to write their letters to MPs on the spot... this can be extended to any event where canoe folk gather..
I've made a start on it, but it is a long slog.
There was a guy in Nottingham that went round varying streets cleaning up rubbish and leaving the bags near the normal bins on lamp posts.
Because he didn't have any particular route and was so random it took ages and ages to find out who he was.
It caused so much interest that people stayed up late, got up early just to find out who this mans identity. All the national papers had the story too.
It was one of those "feel good" stories that created interest and also more importantly highlighting a problem that one man fixed on his own by drawing so much national publicity to this problem.
Streets became cleaner, by guilt I suppose but it did create huge public interest.
This king of stuff works and if "illegal cleaning" up of rivers, lake and canals is on the agenda then I for one will do this.
On a slight off note; I have just got back from a 4 night wild camp canoe trip (my 1st in my home made canoe) on the Ashby canal. One day, 3 of us picked up and carried bags of rubbish up along the way.
I filled our bags and bottles with water (I bought a British Waterways Key £6, handy) and my brother took the rubbish to a bin......................1/2 an hour it took him as there are none on the canal side.
He had to walk and shamelessly put the rubbish into household bins that had just been emptied.
We did collect more rubbish from the canal and bagged it but left these near the more public areas next to water fill points and hoped that it would be "dealt with" as we didn't know how else we could have done this.
We did take our rubbish home as all it was was the bags and containers that the food came from and simply placed back into the "hole" the item left behind, simple really!
So once again, yes, I back this kind of activity.
I found this and loads similar.....
"community kindness is a project that encourages and showcases little acts of neighbourhood niceness.
Every day, we see things around our local neighbourhoods that could do with a little TLC. A broken sign; a bin blown over in the wind; a crack in the path that people keep tripping over.
We could pass by and ignore the problems, or maybe we could deliver an unselfish act of community kindness, and fix the problem ourselves. Often, all it takes is a little thought and some elbow grease.
Taking part is easy, just follow the instructions below:
1. Find a little problem in your community that needs fixing. Nothing is too trivial!
2. Take a before picture on your mobile phone.
3. Fix the problem!
4. Take a proud after photo of your completed project! Geo-tag it, so that your act of kindness can be found on the map! (Alternatively, you could add it to the map on this site later on).
5. Email your photos to the address listed at the top & bottom of this sidebar, give yourself a nickname and tell us a little something about what you did.
6. Your random act of kindness will appear immediately on www.communitykindness.co.uk glorified on the internet for everyone to see!
7. Kudos! How much better do you feel for doing some good in your 'hood? "
It's okay, but is missing quite a high number of rivers. It doesn't even mention the Usk or the Afon Tywi for example. Both major rivers.Any good?
If we can get enough people it would be possible to break up the country into manageable sections and then combine the KML file. At the moment I am mapping out the rivers in Google Earth using the Path function, and the line width set to 6.What can I do to help?
Red for rivers I know there is issue with or access unknown, and light blue for open access. The exact colour doesn't matter too much as it can easily be changed afterwards. On the Wye for example I have mapped the lower undisputed section in light blue, and the section above Hay in red.
At the moment I am concentrating on South Wales, but have also mapped out the Severn as best I can (it is hard to follow the very top section, so if anyone else wants a stab at this river it would be appreciated). In the My Places section of my Google Earth I have made folders separating rivers and sections with access and those that don't.
I have been looking all over the interwb but can't find any maps that show user friendly waters and "banned" waters.
The "My Maps" section on Google maps is a great tool, you can open a map and post it on here and then let "collaborators" add the bits they know on it and compile not only an up to date map nut also an interactive one.............say that a "banned" river becomes an open access river change the colour?
Thanks for the maps.
Stupid idea I know but may give MP's cause for thought (contradiction in terms there?). Next time they are traveling back to their constituency's from Westminster, ask how they would fare if they were only permitted to use 4% of the road or rail network.
re mapping, I'm sure most are aware of this, which covers the BW 'permitted' waterways.
Now to fill in the red lines. What criteria are being used as 'paddleable'? I made a quick .kml of the middle and lower Kennet (do I send this to you SimonMW?), but I left out the upper, because I think it's mostly unpaddleable above Hungerford (although there are some sections that have received complaints about canoeists). Do we go on water depth and, if so, do we need to account for seasonal variation, or do we just include river sections that are good at any time of year? Where a river has multiple channels should they all be included, or do we just go for one main river status channel i.e. wider than 3m and/or the responsibility of the EA? Do we use Rev'd Dr Caffyns Category A evidence or extend to the Category B historical reports, and if so are we using historical navigation rights or should we be only including currently practical navigability (is that a word?)?
I think it's worth getting this right up front to avoid potential criticism of the figures that are eventually delivered... or is the intention just to produce an illustrative indication?
The RAC says that Brighton Uni produced the figure (for DEFRA?) quoted in the statement that "There are in excess of 65,000 kilometres of rivers with NO ACCESS" - what were their definitions of a river, and can we get hold of them?
You make a good point. This is how I see it:
The basic criteria is simply is it a river? The Scottish Access Code makes no distinction as to any other criteria... all waterways are accessible. To weigh up whether or not anyone would want to paddle on it is too difficult to assess and immaterial. If it is a waterway it would be open to access in Scotland, so it should be open to access in England and Wales. The purpose of the map is to graphically illustrate the extent to which we are denied access to our heritage, not produce a guide to canoeable rivers. That is another question all together. The fine detail of how far upstream it becomes navigable is also immaterial. If it is on the map then it is either red or blue.
I found this website >>>> HERE <<<< and it has loads of canoe trips people have done. It includes maps and everything. Perhaps you could use some of the info on there to help with your map? (Copyright permitting)
Either way it's a good site with loads of info, comments, photos and licence required details.
The site owner is...... Keith Day
I am Keith Day and I am now retired, having worked as a manager for MG Rover for over 36 years.
This site was developed partly to reflect my interest in canoeing and inland waterways but also as a case study for an internet training course on web design. ("Wizard on the Web" is run by vision2learn and is free of charge). The site is entirely non commercial and any information supplied by users will be used solely in connection with the site.
I'm here Eddie and prepared to help in any way I can. (I must update that photo)
Since the trips on my site are aimed to be suitable for novices with families they are almost all on canals and licenced rivers and would not be much contribution towards the proposed comprehensive map of rivers. The average map on my site is about 5 miles in lenth and takes about 15 minutes or so to prepare. I therefore estimate that the way I do it would require about 10,000 hours of input, if I knew how to have multiple river tracks on one consolidated map, which I don't.
We are going to need two things-
- Someone with the technical knowledge to say how to do it and co-ordinate the input and
- a lot of volunteers to help (I'll be one of them)
Last edited by KeithD; 29th-April-2011 at 12:21 AM.
Sorry but I didn't know you are a member of SotP never mind a Moderator and didn't mean to get you involved with all of this.
The website you have is fantastic by the way and thought it might help SimonMW with his mapping of accessible and un-accessible rivers.
All I know how to use is the "My Maps" on Google but as you say it takes ages to plot, plan and publish. I don't even have a list of rivers etc we can and can't paddle.
There is now open access to the Ordinance Survey maps but again I have had very little experience with that too.
I am not even sure if all this will help get access to all the rivers either.
Things seem to be moving forward though and progress no matter how slow is still progress.
Perhaps this mapping could be set up on a separate thread/stick and a few will be allowed as "collaborators" to log on and add maps and then build a compendium so to speak. It could be done by Postcode/Regions etc to help spread the load but it all has to be uniform and look professional to a degree.........not any old scribble so to speak.
As with everything, will all this very had work be requiring a Copyright? Or will it be for Public use and open to everyone to copy it and use it?
Complicated but do-able