Maryland Approves Angler Access Laws for Bridges and Roadways

There are times when politicians agree. It usually takes something so obviously positive that it cannot be denied. Such is the case with Maryland's angler access legislation which was signed into law by Governor Martin O'Malley on April 9.

The bill requires that state and local transportation departments to provide "reasonable and cost-effective" access to lakes, rivers and streams in all future roadway construction projects -- including repairs to existing points of potential access.

In every state there is a spiderweb of roads, many of which cross rivers and streams. Many anglers consider these road crossings to be public access points. Laws are sticky to say the least as to whether that is, in fact, true. In some states, bridges and roads are considered legal access points to public waterways. In others, it's not so clear.

In Maryland, however, there is no debate: Public roads and bridges can be used as access points to public waterways. Trouble is, many of those bridges and roadside accesses were constructed in such a manner that getting yourself to the water requires some measure of acrobatics and bravery.

And if you happen to be toting a kayak or canoe? Forget about it.
The waterways access package was supported unanimously in the Maryland Senate (47-0) and passed with a 130-3 margin in house.

How could three state representatives oppose such a package?

Hey, this is politics. There's no such thing as "total" common sense.