Thursday, February 25, 2010

Stream Bill Updates from the Stonefly Society

We wanted to share this update provided by the local Chapter of Trout Unlimited, provided by the Stonefly Society President, Jason Haslam. For the latest information visit

I just wanted to send an update to all our members regarding the stream access bills that most of us have been following the last month or so. As many of you know, HB80 was not passed by the House. This was the "good" bill that we supported. This is not good news unfortunately. And to add to the bad news, HB141, the "bad" bill has been voted through by the House and is now scheduled to be heard by committee on Thursday. We could see HB141 up for vote sometime next week.
PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SENATOR today and tell them to not support HB-141. Our grassroots efforts will be the only way to kill this bill.
Key Provisions of H.B. 141
It is a clear violation of separation of powers, making it in direct contrast to the Utah Constitution Article V Section I and the ideals of our founding fathers.
It was done in secret, and the substitute bill came out after it passed committee and was sprung on the House for a quick debate.
Approves a political and controversial process of adding waters to a list that can be access by the public and saying what waters can't be accessed by the public.
Negates over 100 years of water law in Utah.
Flies in the face of 3 Utah Supreme Court decisions separated by over 70 years declaring and defining the public's easement in State waters.
Refuses to balance two competing constitutional rights, but unconstitutionally disregards one in the favor of the other.
Abolishes Supreme Court's ruling that a public easement exists to access streambeds for recreational purposes.
Except by permission or quiet title, a person accessing a streambed on private property is trespassing.

Quiet Title: In order to access a streambed on private property, a person must file a lawsuit against the landowner claiming that a prescriptive easement exists. The bill requires that the stream on private property must have been open to public recreational use for at least 10 consecutive years after September 22, 1972 and that the use must have been (a) continuous, (b) open and notorious, (c) adverse [contrary to the landowner's interest] and (d) without interruption. If quiet title is obtained, recreational users can access the streambed and private property 3 feet above the bank. The quiet title action standards outlined in H.B. 141 make it very difficult, if not impossible, to obtain a quiet title.
Contains several declarations of policy, all designed to protect the bill against judicial intervention.

Please take 5 minutes of your time and look up your Senator's contact info. Send them an email or give them a call. Be professional and polite in your correspondence and let them know that their constituents opposes HB-141. Here are a few links to help you find your Senators as well as links to HB-141.  
Jason Haslam
Stonefly Society President

No comments:

Post a Comment