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a sandbar along the foot of a high riverbank, submerged during high water and exposed at low water. On canals it is a road that runs along the shore. In the waterways legislation of the USSR, a towpath is defined as a 20-meter strip along internal waterways outside city limits.
Land used as towpaths is reserved for kolkhozes, sov-khozes, and so on; however, the right to its use is limited in the interests of normal navigation and timber floating. Thus, a towpath may be used free of charge not only by transport and timber-floating organizations but by all organizations associated with navigation (for mooring, loading, and unloading ships and rafts without the construction of permanent installations, for the temporary storage of cargo, for the storage of ship fuel, for mechanical and line towing of ships, and so on. Users of riverside land may erect structures and installations within the towpath only with the agreement of the bodies that regulate navigation and timber floating. These bodies may forbid the plowing of land, stubbing of trees, and other work in various parts of the towpath if such limitations are essential for protecting the shores of navigable rivers and the riverside artificial plantings from harm or destruction. The right to free use of the towpath does not extend to portions occupied by hydrotechnical and reclamation installations or buildings and gardens and other valuable plantings, to farmstead plots, and the like.
The bodies regulating the use of navigable waterways or waterways used for floating timber have the right to erect structures and installations on towpaths and to use the stone, gravel, and thickets of shrubs and trees found along the shore. The legal status of towpaths is defined by the 1955 Internal Water Transport Statute of the USSR.
G. S. BASHMAKOV and N. I. MAKKAVEEV