By Curtis Elwood
As many of you know, the put-in that many people use for middle Stouts is on private property and there have been incidents that have left the owner upset. The problem seems to get worse every year as more and more people paddle this section. Please, please, please be sensitive to the rights and wishes of the land owner when paddling this section.
I spoke with the owner, Tom Merello, this Sunday and he was very upset. In an effort to ease the tension, I told him that I’d post his rules on the message board. I’ve also added some tips to help mimize the traffic.
- Organize at D and minimize the number of cars taken to the top. Even if you’re only dropping people off, he really doesn’t like that many cars on his property. I’d also suggest coordinating with other groups to stagger put-in times by 30 minutes.
- If at all possible, use the public access point. It’s the first drive after the bridge over Stouts on the right as you’re heading west on 72. It will hold two cars side by side and is a gravel lot. 2WD trucks probably aren’t a good idea but every other type of vehicle should get in and out just fine.
- If you must park on his property, he asks that you call ahead. [The number used to be found on his website, but it no longer exists. -Chris]
- If he gives you permission to park on his property, he prefers that people park across the low water bridge on creek left. Eventually, he has plans to put in a small gravel lot there. If that area is full, you may park on creek right, but you must park on the left side of his driveway and only on the gravel. No not, for any reason, park on any area of the grass or block his drive. Not even just to unload. If you run out of room to unload, park across 72 on highway D and carry across.
- If you see Mr. Merello, please be kind and ask him if you are in compliance with his wishes or if he has any changes he would like to make to them.
- If someone tells you that they just spoke the owner and asks you to park elsewhere or act more conservatively, listen to them. One person was asked twice to not park in the middle of the road even to unload and didn’t heed the request. Right in the middle of the unloading process, Mr. Merello drove up and he was delayed in getting out of his drive. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been paddling Stouts 2 years or 20. If someone asks you to act more conservatively because they just talked to the Mr. Merello, do it. We don’t need to lose this access point.
Mr. Merello is truly a friend to boaters for letting us use his property to access Stouts from his property. He’s put up with a lot and still lets us park there. I’ve paddled Stouts quite a bit and the only time there are ever issues are when everyone and their brother try to put on all at once. If we are courteous and follow the rules, we’ll be able to enjoy this creek for years to come.