Tuesday, February 9, 2010

2010 Legislature: Representative McIff's Stream Access Bill

The substance of Representative Kay McIff's stream access bill has been released. The bill has been numbered House Bill 141 (HB 141) and is entitled "Recreational Use of Public Water on Private Property."

This bill much more restrictive than other stream access bills that have been previously proposed at the Utah legislature. This bill declares that the Utah Constitution's private property protections do not permit the government to grant a public recreation easement to access public water on private property. The bill is very critical of the Utah Supreme Court's decision in Conatser v. Johnson, and essentially overturns the Conatser decision.

The bill allows very limited public recreational access. Recreational access can be established only if the private streambed has been used by the public for recreational access for at least 10 consecutive years that begin after September 22, 1972. The public use must be continuous, open, notorious, adverse, and without interruption. A person or the Division of Wildlife Resources may bring a quiet title action in court to obtain a judicial declaration of the existence of a right to public recreational access.

This bill is sure to receive strong protest from the fly fishing community.

Click here to read the full text of Representative McIff's bill.

Click here to read about other stream access bills.

(For an update on this bill, click here.)

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