Some Effects of Extending the Navigation Season on the Great Lakes: A Need for Congressional Action
The thrust of this note is to probe that "natural right" as affected by the extended navigation season proposal. The basic conflict is one of competing rights and interests. On the one hand is a group of private citizens claiming a private right in the traditional use of the ice in its natural condition. On the other hand are those arguing in favor of the economic desirability of opening a vast, commercially rich region to year-round waterborne accessibility. In other words, there is a clash between conflicting private regional interests, and public national interests. It is the author's contention that since Congress gave birth to the problem by legislating federal resource involvement into an otherwise private commercial realm, any remedies which exist as a result of adverse effects on private rights must likewise originate with Congress and may not properly be sought through the courts. Of particular importance to such a conclusion, and the liabilities of the various parties involved, is a full appreciation of the source of the problem, an understanding of the development of the private right to travel on ice, the development of the public right of navigation, and the role of the federal govern- ment in breaking ice.