Utah Lawmaker Seeks to Reverse River Access

A new bill that would reverse a unanimous state supreme court decision to allow public access to all streambeds is taking final form in the Utah legislature. The bill contains a dramatic change: no access would be allowed on Utah waters unless explicitly stated in the legislation, effectively closing off the majority of use of streambeds except on rivers and streams that are already popular. Currently only 14 rivers are listed. “HB187, sponsored by Rep. Ben Ferry, R-Corinne, and made public Wednesday, would designate the beds of sections of 14 Utah rivers as open to recreational use by anglers and boaters. All others would be closed, leaving recreationists open to trespassing citations.” Tom Wharton in the Salt Lake Tribune.
As we noted in January, last July The Utah Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling that says Utahns have the right to walk on the beds of all streams and rivers, regardless of who owns the land beneath them.
If you want to get involved in preserving access to Utah rivers, visit the Utah Water Guardians Web site, where you can find specific advice for communicating your concerns to state representatives.

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  • Andrew

    This bill is a travesty targeted specifically at anglers. Over the past 5 years I’ve taught myself to fly fish and have never been happier. Rarely do I fish any of the waters listed in this bill. HB 187 would effectively kill fly fishing for me in teh state of UT.

  • Joe

    It is a shame that it’s come to this and it’s something we will fight tooth and nail.

  • Tom

    Attention all Sportsmen of Utah- get off your couches and start protesting this horrible bill NOW. if you fish, raft, hike, kayak, tube, whatever, fight this legislation with your last breath. the courts have clarified your rights. a right to access the waters throughout your state. do NOT let the greedy private landowners deny you this right. MT had problems initially, when its court ruled the same way…but twenty years later, its pretty much a live and let live environment on MT waters. let the gazillionares have their streamside cabins (read mansions) just keep your right to fish the same waters they do.

  • YOUR RIGHTS ARE AT RISK!
    House Bill 187
    Use of Public Waters
    • CREATES CRIMINAL CONSEQUENCES FOR THE LEGAL ACTIVITIES YOU ENJOY ON PUBLIC WATERS
    • TAKES AWAY WATERS YOU’VE ALWAYS HAD ACCESS TO
    • ALLOWS PRIVATE LANDOWNERS TO KEEP YOU OUT OF PUBLIC PROPERTY
    • SEVERELY DAMAGES THE ECONOMY OF UTAH’S OUTDOOR INDUSTRY
    • PUTS PRIVATE INTERESTS OVER THE INTERESTS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC
    • WASTES DOLLARS AND EFFORTS ALREADY SPENT ON IMPROVING FISHERIES AND HABITAT
    • CREATES CONFUSING AND CONFLICTING RULES THAT COULD RESULT IN YOU GETTING CITED FOR PARTICIPATING IN A LEGAL ACTIVITY
    • CREATES A COMMITTEE THAT CAN FURTHER REMOVE WATERS FROM PUBLIC ACCESS
    As hard as we have tried to distill the extreme complexities, contradictions and vagaries of HB 187, we could do no better than the following letter submitted by a concerned citizen. It is a lengthy letter, but it touches very well on all the issues we are concerned with. And since we are doing our best to represent the citizens who have been left out of the creation of this bill, we hereby acknowledge this letter as our official position on HB 187 – Use Of Public Waters.
    The rest here –>http://utahwaterguardians.wordpress.com/

  • Jerry Pucket

    I have lived in Utah since 1991. I will be at the captial for the rally.
    I hope this Bill is defeated and at the same time encourage those of us who fish Utah waters to be examples of consideration–pack it in pack it out and if it isn’t yours pick it up anyway and pack it out!
    There is nothing that grieves me more than to look
    into one of our pristine waters and see drink cans and trash!