Utah Supreme Court Allows Public Waters Access Act to Stand
Yesterday, the Utah Supreme Court issued a decision ending a thirteen-year effort by the Utah Stream Access Coalition to overturn the Public Waters Access Act of 2010 (the “PWAA”) and restore public access to Utah’s non-navigable rivers and streams.
The Court ruled that the public’s access to these waterways, which the PWAA took away, is not rooted in or protected by the Utah State Constitution. Accordingly, the PWAA will stand.
While we are disappointed in the decision, we remain steadfast and measured in our mission. The decision ends only one of several avenues by which we aim to restore public access to Utah’s rivers and streams. See our press release we distributed yesterday.
We will continue our efforts to have the State identify navigable streams and declare them open to public recreational use, as it did successfully on the upper Weber River in 2017. We will continue to advocate for the repeal and/or amendment of the PWAA, which, contrary to its name, restricts the public’s ability to recreate on over 2,700 miles of non-navigable rivers and streams within the state that comprise some 43% of Utah’s fishable waterways.
We strongly encourage all USAC members, and members of the public who are troubled by this turn of events, to contact their Utah State Legislators (Representative and Senator) to explain what the loss of public recreational access to Utah’s public natural resources means to them, and to voice their disapproval of the wholesale privatization of such public natural resources, as made possible the PWAA.
You can easily find the name, address and telephone numbers of your Legislators by entering your address in the Utah Legislature’s Who represents me? – Legislative Map webpage. Please let your voice be heard.
Stay tuned for more information. Thank you, as always, for your continued support.