To: Rep. Perry, L.,
Subject: Support of HB 37 (Public Waters Access Act)
I write to urge your support of HB 37, the proposed Public Waters Access Act sponsored by Rep. Dixon M. Pitcher. I understand that the bill is currently under consideration by the House Rules Committee. It is an important bill and merits quick transit through that committee and ultimately passage. It is patterned after Idaho law which has served the interests of landowners and recreationists ably for many years.
That is the bottom line. The longer story is this: I’m 65, a lifelong Utah resident with pioneer ancestors on both sides, a BYU law grad, and a shareholder of a prominent Salt Lake law firm (although I write purely as an individual and not as a representative). My wife and I have raised our family in Sandy for 35 years. I have fished Utah’s streams for nearly 60 years. I fondly remember the days when my dad would ask permission of a farmer or rancher to cross land to reach a stream—and I still do the same, regardless of the state of the law. But I have been increasingly frustrated by the actions of many landowners (absentee landowners, in many instances), bolstered by barbed wire and the threat of prosecution. Utah boasts wonderful recreational opportunities that boost our economy without any negative impact on our environment, but I fear that lock-outs of our state’s waters keep many out-of-staters (and their money) away. HB 37 is a compromise—for example, it only deals with larger waters (either navigable or capable of floating 6’X6” timber during high water)—but it promises a workable resolution not only to pending litigation but to vexing tensions between the public’s right to the waters of the state and the interests of landowners whose property borders those waters.
Thank you for your time and your service. I should note that I am copying members of the House Rules Committee as well as legislators whom I know and respect personally and my state senator, Wayne Niederhauser.
William G. Marsden
11445 So. Wyndcastle Dr.
Sandy, UT 84092
Phone (801) 524-1000
Fax (801) 524-1099