Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2015 Legislative Preview: Stream Access

Representative Dixon M. Pitcher has introduced House Bill 108 (HB 108), entitled "Public Waters Access Act."  This bill seeks to make significant changes to the Utah Public Water Access Act, which governs stream access issues in the State.  The bill would modify the definition of “public access water” to include a requirement that the stream or waterway must, in its natural state during ordinary high water, be capable of floating a commercial commodity or being navigated by watercraft.  The bill then provides that a public access water, at or below the ordinary high water mark, is open to year-round public use for any lawful activity that utilizes the water, including boating, fishing, swimming, or wading.  Members of the public may not, however, use private land to access public access water, but may use private land for reasonable portage around manmade or natural obstructions.  The bill also allows landowners the right to place a fence across a public access water, provided that the fence comply with all laws and is constructed in a manner that does not create an unreasonable danger to the public using the public access water, and provided that the landowner allows the public to use a ladder, gate, or other mechanism to portage around the fence.

To read the full text of the bill as introduced, click here.

No comments: