Another Access War Brews in Utah

On July 18 the Utah state Supreme Court ruled that “the public has the right to touch privately owned beds of state waters in ways incidental to all recreational rights provided for in the easement.” That’s created a flurry of jabs in both directions as private land owners and access rights advocates argue about the real effects of letting anglers use streambeds to move through private lands. Non-angler Vern Williams states the limited-access perspective about as plainly as you can: “Everybody has to poop and they don’t poop in the river,” Williams said. “These people aren’t able to stay in the river banks and like to get out and stomp your fences. They think they can just go do what they want and throw their garbage wherever they want.” Patrick Parkinson in the Park City, Utah Park Record.

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  • john weis

    You have to take some of these “angler” comments with a grain of salt. Trout Bum 2 is one of two stores in park City that do a lot of guiding for big $$ on private waters. Those private streams are now public and the guides will have to fight for space along with the unwashed masses. These stores likely would have preferred the supreme court rule the opposite way.

  • As an angler that doesn’t live out in your stretch of the woods, I find it difficult to commit comment about the rights, or wrongs of whether we, the (so called) unwashed masses would even bother to stop near, in, or on, your property. But please allow me to ask you a simple question. If you were to buy land on both sides of the Mississippi, would you still attempt to stop traffic on the navigable area of the river? This makes little or no sense at all, as you already know the answer. It has been recognized in my neck of the woods that this is true as well, even though there are a few folks that feel differently, (primarily landowners with lots adjacent to the streams, and rivers), and the law still stands. This has been true for many,many years, and in a way, it’s funny that people still don’t get it straight in their heads about what they really own, we are just using these lands for a temporary time, and when we’re all dead and gone, the rivers and streams will still be here, hopefully for someone else to use and appreciate.
    Goodluck & Good fishing