Join the Share Our Rivers Coalition

Commercial canoe and kayak rental services have grown quickly and without guidelines. On our most popular rivers, there are increases in water rescues, unsafe practices, litter, bad behavior, and conflicts with other citizens using the river. Meanwhile, individual anglers and paddlers are crowded out of these public water resources.

Join the Share Our Rivers Coalition and you’ll be among individual anglers and paddlers, professional fishing guides, and even other commercial operators who agree that reasonable guidelines are needed to correct bad actors and give guidelines to good ones.

Because our rivers are public resources, citizens should be able to enjoy them. The Share Our Rivers Coalition believes:

  • Balance is needed to protect the interests of many users.
  • It is reasonable to require commercial operators to contribute to maintaining the health of the public river resources that they profit from.
  • Commercial operators must maintain sensible operating standards to protect public safety and minimize damage to rivers.
  • Quality rivers and quality experiences are important to users and local economies.

The Share Our Rivers Coalition supports the following concepts and solutions:

  • Stop Bad Actors
    There are several thoughtful commercial operators who see the need to address the problems identified. But we should hold bad actors accountable to prevent problems on our rivers.
  • Establish Safety Requirements and Procedures
    Basic safety standards for commercial operators are needed to reduce risk to renters.
  • Establish Vessel Requirements
    Commercial operators should clearly mark their vessels in order to increase accountability.
  • Establish Annual Operating Permits and Conduct Inspections
    Most businesses in Tennessee must have an annual inspection and permit. Commercial paddling operators should be subject to oversight of basic requirements.
  • Measure Commercial River Traffic
    There is no detailed accounting of the number of commercial trips taken on our rivers. Measurements taken through annual permitting will make informed management decisions possible. These will be modeled upon proven management methods used elsewhere.
  • Share in Maintenance Costs
    Fee structures should be shaped by the data collected through annual permitting. They must be scalable as to not penalize smaller operators.
  • Better Manage Public Access
    Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) must have the resources to manage public access areas to allow all users to access the river in a safe and timely manner.
  • Increase Law Enforcement
    As more people are present on our rivers, more law enforcement is needed to ensure safety, enforce litter laws, and maintain order.

Organization members of the Coalition include: