Idaho Judge Hands Public Lands a Win

August 18, 2020 By: Spencer Durrant

It’s not often that we get to share stories about judges deciding in favor of public lands, but one county judge in Idaho did just that. Blaine County district judge Ned Williamson ruled that the “No Parking” signs erected by the Fly Heart Ranch HOA violated the public’s constitutional access to the Big Wood River near Hailey, Idaho, according to an article by Rachel Cohen for Boise State Public Radio.

Idaho allows public access to all waters in the state, so long as sportsmen don’t trespass across private property to access the water. Even if a river flows through private land, for example, anglers are allowed to fish the section flowing through the private property as long as they don’t get out of the river above the high water mark, and enter the river from a public access point.

The Flying Heart Ranch HOA put up signs last year that prohibited parking along a road that, for years, had been used by locals to access the Big Wood River. One car was even towed, until Blaine County and Silver Creek Outfitters filed a lawsuit – and won.

This story highlights the importance of our activity in local politics, as well as the invaluable information that comes from solid on-the-ground local reporters.

Read the story in its entirety here.