Important: Landowner Confrontation Reports are Live on Our Website
This summer has given our Board of Directors time to reflect, regroup, and redirect USAC’s efforts.
As many of you know, the May 18 decision from the Utah Supreme Court ended USAC’s constitutional challenge of the Public Waters Access Act. While we are disappointed with the outcome in this case, we are actively working to restore public access to all of Utah’s navigable waterways. To advance that effort, USAC is seeking to identify and document landowner/river user confrontations on specific waterways in consideration of potential further actions by the Coalition. In particular, USAC would like to receive reports of any such confrontations on the following rivers:
Weber River (Holiday Park to Ogden)
Provo River (National Forest boundary to Provo)
Ogden River (Causey Reservoir/South Fork to Ogden)
Logan River (Utah/Idaho State Line to Bear River)
Blacksmith Fork River (Hardware Ranch to Logan River)
Little Bear River (Porcupine Reservoir to Bear River)
Upper Bear River (Headwaters to Wyoming state line, all forks)
Blacks Fork River(Headwaters to Wyoming state line, all forks)
Sevier River (Tropic Reservoir/East Fork or Asay Cr/Main Stem to Salina)
USAC has documented the commercial use of these rivers prior to statehood, which makes them legally navigable. However, the State has yet to formally confirm them as navigable waters, which leaves Utahns (river users and landowners alike) and law enforcement unclear as to what rights the public has to use these waterways for lawful recreation purposes.
How You Can Help
A critical component of USAC’s strategy moving forward is obtaining reports directly from members (or anyone else recreating on these waters) of confrontations between river users and landowners. USAC’s Confrontation Report was created to facilitate and standardize such reporting. USAC is seeking information about face-to-face encounters with landowners or their representatives, signs that attempt to limit your use of the river or threaten you with prosecution for using the river, and/or information related to anyone being cited for trespass on any of the above-referenced waterways.
USAC is only seeking information on confrontations that occur when a river used is in the riverbed below the ordinary high-water mark. USAC is not seeking reports of disputes over the use of surrounding property outside of the streambed (i.e. dry lands above the ordinary high-water mark). If you have questions about your right to get to a river or use its bed or lawful recreational purposes, you are advised to contact the Regional Office of the Division of Wildlife Resources, who are tasked with the responsibility of enforcing trespass laws on all of Utah’s waterways. You can find their contact information here. When dealing with hostile landowners, remain civil at all times but insist on getting the information needed to fill out the report. It’s your right to get this information.
So if you are confronted by a landowner on one of these rivers, please take a minute to gather as much information as you can and submit it via the Confrontation Report link on USAC’s website. A representative from USAC may reach out to you to get additional information.
Stay tuned for more information. Thank you, as always, for your continued support.
After much anticipation and considerable planning, the first of USAC’s 6 ladders was installed recently at a rehabilitated portion of Mud Creek, a Cutthroat trout spawning tributary to Scofield Reservoir, Fish Creek, and the Price River. This property has been the subject of extensive stream rehabilitation work designed to not only improve the habitat in Mud Creek itself, but also in Scofield Reservoir. You can read more about this important work in the Project Summary here.
This access ladder, which was installed on the “FSJensen” Walk-In Access Property, which provides access to about 1.3 miles of Mud Creek, was made possible by some very important partners:
Fred and Sheila Jensen granted the conservation easement to Carbon County on this beautiful property making it possible for the public to enjoy for lawful recreational purposes during the open season in Cutthroat trout spawning waters. A heartfelt thank you for their generous gift to allow the public to enjoy fishing on this beautiful creek. Sadly, Fred Jensen and his grandson Jordan passed away this year. May they rest in peace and know the donation of this conservation easement will allow us to gratefully celebrate their memories in perpetuity.
Utah Trout Unlimited and the Southeastern Region of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources envisioned, coordinated, planned, and secured funding for the extensive stream rehabilitation of Mud Creek.
Funding for the access ladder fabrication was obtained by USAC from a grant by the AFFTA Fisheries Fund, the conservation and stewardship arm of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association.
Many thanks for their support and for helping USAC provide access to Utah’s fisheries by means of these extraordinary access ladders!
Every penny goes toward restoring stream access. Help us fight!