Just getting back into boating (via packraft) after 20yrs to discover that recreational use of many Utah streams has recently been revoked. In 2010, the usual characters passed Utah state bill HB 141 to redefine “Recreational Use of Public Water on Private Property.” As I read it, there are two major issues for packrafters:
- HB 141 prohibits walking on a stream/river’s bed or bank that flows over private land. (The only exceptions are for incidental touching and portaging a dangerous obstruction.)
- HB 141 prohibits stopping while floating in a stream/river over private land.
Thus without written permission from the landowner, one is only permitted to float a stream/river over private land, no scouting potential hazards, no eddying out to rest, no walking one’s packraft over low water sections. Not only does HB 141 make it more physically dangerous for packrafters, it effectively revokes public recreational use of many rivers and river sections throughout Utah. Lastly, HB 141 is blatantly unconstitutional.
I’ll be the first to admit I was completely unaware, although, not surprised, of these shinanigans by my state representatives. So I’m getting involved and urge you to get educated and take action. Even if you aren’t planning on packrafting in Utah, these same sorts of bills are likely making their way through your state’s legislature.
Here are a few links:
http://utahstreamaccess.org - citizen action group leading the lawsuits against the State of Utah, buy a shirt/ hat, donate!
http://utahstreamaccess.org/usac-wp/category/usac/ - news from USAC
http://utahstreamaccess.org/usac-wp/583/usac/legislative-update-we-did-it/ - recent victory, withdraw of another terrible proposed bill, HB 68
http://i9studios.com/USAC/WI8925.pdf - USAC Compromise Bill to revoke HB 141
http://wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/component/content/article/40-fishing/238-hb-141.html - discussion of current law
http://www.banjoutah.com/styled/blog/files/e8004ddd08128c40b19048b0e8a9cc08-12.html - nice summary of issues from Mike Iverson’s blog
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55858215-90/access-bill-bills-pitcher.html.csp - recent SLTribune article
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/55816615-78/access-bill-idaho-pitcher.html.csp - SLTribue article describing a bill to replace HB 141
http://www.standard.net/topics/opinion/2010/05/06/legislative-rhetoric-and-demise-right-recreate-public-waters - Ogden Standard-Examiner article describing the impacts of HB 141