July 18, 2008 - In the case of Conaster vs. Johnson the Utah Supreme Court ruled unanimously to uphold the public's right to use and recreate on waters that the public owns. The court concluded "we hold that the scope of the easement provides the public the right to float, hunt, fish, and participate in all lawful activities that utilize the water. We further hold that the public has the right to touch privately owned beds of state waters in ways incidentally to all recreational rights provided for in the easement, so long as they do reasonably and cause no unnecessary injury to the landowner”. Read: Conatser vs Johnson –>http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/sup...tser071808.pdf
. The Conaster Decision was vigorously challenged in the Utah Legislature in the spring of 2009. A final version of the bill was tabled in the waning minutes of the session.
Stakeholders in Utah's stream access debate are gearing up for the 2010 Utah Legislative Session, when questions of public easements to Utah's waterways will once again be addressed. Anglers, river enthusiasts, real estate interests, conservation groups, private property advocates, farm groups and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources are all posturing for a place at the table in the debate over stream access in Utah.
Utah Water Guardians has started a collection to raise money to hire a lobbyist to represent the public's right to access. You can donate to the cause through their website: Utah Water Guardians