SHARECOMMENTMORE

A judge's ruling has questioned the validity of a local ordinance in Townsend thatdoesn't allowtubers on the Little River to get out of the water on private property.

Judge David Duggan overturnedthe citation this month. It was issued to aman fromHamblen County in 2012, who missed the designated takeout and was getting close to Wear's Dam. According to the ruling, the tuber, Anthony Damico, left the water at a campground where he was confronted by a supervisor who told him he wastrespassing.He was told toleave, or pay the campgrounda fee.

The ruling said Damico did not comply. Instead, he walked through the campground to a nearby road before getting back on the river in a calmer area. That's when he met a Townsend Police officer, and was issued a citation.

However, the judge said because the Little River is considered "navigable waters" and the tuber was in harm's way,he was not trespassing. The citation was overturned.

Michael Williams lives along the Little River, and while he had no connection with the case, he feels that if they arein danger, tubers can use private property as means of escape.

"It's not an open invitation, but in a true emergency, if someone's welfare is in jeopardy, then they need to be offered assistance," Williams said.

There will be a meeting to discuss this overturned citation Monday evening at 6:30.At that point, we could know if any changes will be made involving the issue of trespassing.