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First Substitute H.B. 141

This document includes House Floor Amendments incorporated into the bill on Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 2:45 PM by jeyring. -->

Representative Kay L. McIff proposes the following substitute bill:





Chief Sponsor: Kay L. McIff

Senate Sponsor: Dennis E. Stowell

             8      LONG TITLE
             9      General Description:
             10          This bill addresses public use of public waters on public and private property.
             11      Highlighted Provisions:
             12          This bill:
             13          .    makes legislative declarations concerning constitutional protections for private
             14      property and related matters;
             15          .    provides liability protection for owners of private property beneath or adjacent to
             16      public waters;
             17          .    defines terms;
             18          .    outlines circumstances under which the public may acquire recreational access to
             19      public water on private property;
             20          .    provides a process for the declaration of the right to certain public recreational
             21      access based on historical adverse use;
             22          .    provides for injunctions;
             23          .    addresses the chapter's effect on other uses of public waters;
             24          .    requires a person using a public access area to remove refuse and personal property;
             25          .    addresses fences across public water; and

             26          .    makes technical and conforming amendments.
             27      Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
             28          None
             29      Other Special Clauses:
             30          None
             31      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             32      AMENDS:
             33          57-14-4, as last amended by Laws of Utah 1997, Chapter 62
             34          73-1-1, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             35      ENACTS:
             36          73-29-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             37          73-29-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             38          73-29-103, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             39          73-29-201, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             40          73-29-202, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             41          73-29-203, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             42          73-29-204, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             43          73-29-205, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             44          73-29-206, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             45      REPEALS AND REENACTS:
             46          57-14-1, as last amended by Laws of Utah 1997, Chapter 62
             48      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             49          Section 1. Section 57-14-1 is repealed and reenacted to read:
             50          57-14-1. Legislative purpose.
             51          This chapter's purpose is to limit the liability of public and private land owners toward a
             52      person entering the owner's land as a trespasser or for recreational purposes, whether by
             53      permission or by operation of Title 73, Chapter 29, Public Waters Access Act.
             54          Section 2. Section 57-14-4 is amended to read:
             55           57-14-4. Use of private land without charge -- Effect.
             56          (1) Except as provided in Subsection 57-14-6 (1), an owner of land who either directly

             57      or indirectly invites or permits without charge or for a nominal fee of not more than $1 per year
             58      any person to use the land for any recreational purpose, or an owner of a public access area
             59      open to public recreational access under Title 73, Chapter 29, Public Waters Access Act, does
             60      not thereby:
             61          [(1)] (a) make any representation or extend any assurance that the premises are safe for
             62      any purpose;
             63          [(2)] (b) confer upon the person the legal status of an invitee or licensee to whom a
             64      duty of care is owed;
             65          [(3)] (c) assume responsibility for or incur liability for any injury to persons or property
             66      caused by an act or omission of the person or any other person who enters upon the land; or
             67          [(4)] (d) owe any duty to curtail the owner's use of his land during its use for
             68      recreational purposes.
             69          (2) This section applies to the relationship between an owner of land and a trespasser.
             70          Section 3. Section 73-1-1 is amended to read:
             71           73-1-1. Waters declared property of public.
             72          (1) All waters in this state, whether above or under the ground are hereby declared to
             73      be the property of the public, subject to all existing rights to the use thereof.
             74          (2) The declaration of public ownership of water in Subsection (1) does not create or
             75      recognize an easement for public recreational use on private property.
             76          (3) The right of the public to use public water for recreational purposes is governed by
             77      Chapter 29, Public Waters Access Act.
             78          Section 4. Section 73-29-101 is enacted to read:

Part 1. General Provisions

             81          73-29-101. Title.
             82          This chapter is known as the "Public Waters Access Act."
             83          Section 5. Section 73-29-102 is enacted to read:
             84          73-29-102. Definitions.
             85          As used in this chapter:
             86          (1) "Division" means the Division of Wildlife Resources.
             87          (2) "Floating access" means the right to access public water flowing over private

             88      property for floating and fishing upon the water.
             89          (3) "Impounded wetlands" means a wetland or wetland pond that is formed or the level
             90      of which is controlled by a dike, berm, or headgate that retains or manages the flow or depth of
             91      water, including connecting channels.
             92          (4) "Navigable water" means a water course that in its natural state without the aid of
             93      artificial means is useful for commerce and has a useful capacity as a public highway of
             94      transportation.
             95          (5) "Private property to which access is restricted" means privately owned real
             96      property:
             97          (a) that is cultivated land, as defined in Section 23-20-14 ;
             98          (b) that is:
             99          (i) properly posted, as defined in Section 23-20-14 ;
             100          (ii) posted as described in Subsection 76-6-206 (2)(b)(iii); or
             101          (iii) posted as described in Subsection 76-6-206.3 (2)(c);
             102          (c) that is fenced or enclosed as described in:
             103          (i) Subsection 76-6-206 (2)(b)(ii); or
             104          (ii) Subsection 76-6-206.3 (2)(b); H. or .H
             105          (d) that the owner or a person authorized to act on the owner's behalf has requested a
             106      person to leave as provided by:
             107          (i) Section 23-20-14 ;
             108          (ii) Subsection 76-6-206 (2)(b)(i); or
             109          (iii) Subsection 76-6-206.3 (2)(a) H. [ ; or
             110          (e) that is not the bed of a navigable water
] .H
             111          (6) "Public access area" means the limited part of privately owned property that:
             112          (a) lies beneath or within three feet of a public water or that is the most direct, least
             113      invasive, and closest means of portage around an obstruction in a public water; and
             114          (b) is open to public recreational access under Section 73-29-202 ; and
             115          (c) can be accessed from an adjoining public assess area or public right-of-way.
             116          (7) "Public recreational access" means the right to engage in recreational access
             117      established in accordance with Section 73-29-202 .
             118          (8) (a) "Public water" means water:

             119          (i) described in Section 73-1-1 ; and
             120          (ii) flowing or collecting on the surface:
             121          (A) within a natural or realigned channel; or
             122          (B) in a natural lake, pond, or reservoir on a natural or realigned channel.
             123          (b) "Public water" does not include water flowing or collecting:
             124          (i) on impounded wetland;
             125          (ii) a migratory bird production area, as defined in Section 23-28-102 ;
             126          (iii) on private property in a manmade:
             127          (A) irrigation canal;
             128          (B) irrigation ditch; or
             129          (C) impoundment or reservoir constructed outside of a natural or realigned channel; or
             130          (iv) on a jurisdictional wetland described in 33 C.F.R. 328.3.
             131          (9) (a) "Recreational access" means to use a public water and to touch a public access
             132      area incidental to the use of the public water for:
             133          (i) floating;
             134          (ii) fishing; or
             135          (iii) waterfowl hunting conducted:
             136          (A) in compliance with applicable law or rule, including Sections 23-20-8 , 73-29-204 ,
             137      and 76-10-508 ; and
             138          (B) so that the individual who engages in the waterfowl hunting shoots a firearm only
             139      while within a public access area and no closer than 600 feet of any dwelling.
             140          (b) "Recreational access" does not include:
             141          (i) hunting, except as provided in Subsection (9)(a)(iii);
             142          (ii) wading without engaging in activity described in Subsection (9)(a); or
             143          (iii) any other activity.
             144          Section 6. Section 73-29-103 is enacted to read:
             145          73-29-103. Declarations.
             146          The Legislature declares that:
             147          (1) the Utah Constitution's specific private property protections, including recognition
             148      of the inalienable right to acquire, possess, and protect property and the prohibition on taking
             149      or damaging private property for public use without just compensation, protect against

             150      government's indiscriminate recognition or granting of a public recreation easement to access
             151      or use public water on private property;
             152          (2) general constitutional and statutory provisions declaring public ownership of water
             153      and recognizing existing rights of use are insufficient to overcome the specific constitutional
             154      protections for private property and do not justify inviting widespread unauthorized invasion of
             155      private property for recreation purposes where public access has never existed or has not
             156      existed for a sufficient period and under the conditions required to support recognition under
             157      this chapter;
             158          (3) whether, or to what extent, a public easement exists for recreational use of public
             159      waters on private property is uncertain after judicial decisions in the cases of J.J.N.P. Co. v.
             160      State, 655 P.2d 1133 (Utah 1982) and Conatser v. Johnson, 194 P.3d 897 (Utah 2008), which
             161      decisions fail to reconcile their respective holdings with the constitutional protections afforded
             162      private property;
             163          (4) in recognition of historical public recreational uses of some private property,
             164      whether by permission or prescription, the Legislature encourages continued permissive use
             165      while officially recognizing prescriptive use, similar to that required to establish a public
             166      highway under Section 72-5-104 , as a constitutionally sound and manageable basis for
             167      establishing a limited right of public recreational access on private property under the
             168      provisions of this chapter;
             169          (5) the judicial decision of J.J.N.P. Co. v. State, 655 P.2d 133 (Utah 1982) is relied
             170      upon in this chapter for the purpose of fixing the date on which the public was first put on
             171      notice of a potential right to access public water on private property for recreational purposes
             172      and the date following which the public could begin to establish a right to floating access or
             173      broader public recreational access under this chapter; and
             174          (6) it is necessary to:
             175          (a) clarify and define the foundation and parameters of the public right that can be
             176      created;
             177          (b) provide a process by which a public right may be established and recognized; and
             178          (c) set the date after which evidence of adverse public use is relevant.
             179          Section 7. Section 73-29-201 is enacted to read:
Part 2. Recreational Access to Public Water

             181          73-29-201. General access provisions.
             182          (1) The public may use a public water for recreational activity if the public water:
             183          (a) (i) is a navigable water; or
             184          (ii) is on public property; and
             185          (b) the recreational activity is not otherwise prohibited by law.
             186          (2) A person may access and use a public water on private property for any lawful
             187      purpose with the private property owner's permission.
             188          (3) A person may not access or use a public water on private property for recreational
             189      purposes if the private property is property to which access is restricted, unless public
             190      recreational access is established under Section 73-29-202.
             191          Section 8. Section 73-29-202 is enacted to read:
             192          73-29-202. Establishment of public recreational access.
             193          (1) Public recreational access is established if:
             194          (a) the private property has been used by the public for recreational access requiring the
             195      use of the public water for a period of at least 10 consecutive years that begins after September
             196      22, 1982; and
             197          (b) the public use has been:
             198          (i) continuous during the season conducive to the recreational access;
             199          (ii) open and notorious;
             200          (iii) adverse; and
             201          (iv) without interruption.
             202          (2) The permissive use of a public water on private property granted by the owner is
             203      not an adverse use.
             204          (3) A property owner's overt act intended to interrupt uninvited recreational access is a
             205      sufficient interruption to restart any period of use that may have already begun under
             206      Subsection (1) if the evidence, taken as a whole, shows that the act came to the attention of the
             207      public or resulted in actual interruption.
             208          (4) The extent and nature of the public recreational access permitted under Subsection
             209      (1) is determined by the nature of the historical recreational access during the 10 consecutive
             210      years required under Subsection (1).
             211          (5) If historical recreational access is limited to floating after J.J.N.P. Co v. State, 655

             212      P.2d 133 (Utah 1982), then:
             213          (a) the right acquired is limited to floating access; and
             214          (b) the required proof is limited to that necessary to prove the right claimed.
             215          (6) When a public water is a lake, pond, or reservoir located on a natural stream and on
             216      private property, any portion that has been developed or protected for private hunting is not
             217      subject to public recreational access even though the remainder of the public water qualifies for
             218      public recreational access under this section.
             219          (7) A right of public recreational access on private property established in accordance
             220      with this section, may not be closed without authorization of other law.
             221          Section 9. Section 73-29-203 is enacted to read:
             222          73-29-203. Quiet title action.
             223          (1) (a) A person, including the division, may file a quiet title action in accordance with
             224      Title 78B, Chapter 6, Part 13, Quiet Title, to obtain a judicial declaration of the existence of a
             225      right to public recreational access under Section 73-29-202 .
             226          (b) The division may intervene in a quiet title action filed in accordance with
             227      Subsection (1).

             228          (c) The division may not be compelled to:
             229          (i) file a quiet title action; or
             230          (ii) join a quiet title action filed by another person.
             231          (2) The claimant in a quiet title action under Subsection (1) shall:
             232          (a) name the property owner of record as a party; and
             233          (b) notify the division of the suit by certified mail no later than 20 days after the day on
             234      which the quiet title action is filed.
             235          (3) The division shall post notice of a quiet title action under this section on its Internet
             236      website.
             237          (4) The burden of proof for a quiet title action under this section is on the claimant to
             238      prove the existence of a right to public recreational access or floating access under Section
             239      73-29-202 by clear and convincing evidence.
             240          (5) A quiet title action under this section is limited to a declaration concerning the
             241      property and property owner joined in the action.
             242          (6) (a) Multiple claimants and multiple property owners may be included in a quiet title

             243      action concerning public water common to the property owners.
             244          (b) In a case with multiple property owners, the court shall make a separate finding
             245      concerning each property owner included in the action.
             246          (7) The court may award attorney fees and costs in an action under this section if the
             247      court finds that the losing party's arguments lack a reasonable basis in law or fact.
             248          Section 10. Section 73-29-204 is enacted to read:
             249          73-29-204. Injunctive relief.
             250          (1) The owner of private property may obtain injunctive relief against a person who,
             251      without permission, enters, remains, or persists in an effort to enter or remain on the owner's
             252      property for recreational use of public water.
             253          (2) An injunction under this section is in addition to any remedy for trespass.
             254          (3) The existence of an easement under Section 73-29-202 is a defense in an action for
             255      injunctive relief under this section or a claim of trespass under other law.
             256          (4) If a person against whom an injunction is sought, or a person charged with trespass,
             257      establishes by clear and convincing evidence the existence of an easement for defense
             258      purposes, as described in Subsection (3), the establishment of the existence of the easement
             259      applies only to the defense and does not constitute a judicial declaration of the easement's
             260      existence for another purpose.
             261          (5) If an owner obtains an injunction against a person under this section, the injunction
             262      does not serve as a declaration that there is no public easement on the owner's property.
             263          (6) The court may award attorney fees and costs in an action under this section if the
             264      court finds that the losing party's arguments lack a reasonable basis in law or fact.
             265          Section 11. Section 73-29-205 is enacted to read:
             266          73-29-205. Effect of chapter on other uses and restrictions -- Required acts.
             267          (1) Nothing in this chapter affects the right of the public to use public water for public
             268      recreational access, including the touching of the bed beneath the public water if:
             269          (a) the bed beneath the public water is public property; or
             270          (b) the bed beneath the public water is private property to which access is not
             271      restricted.
             272          (2) A person using a public water for public recreational access is subject to any other
             273      restriction lawfully placed on the use of the public water by a governmental entity with

             274      authority to restrict the use of the public water.
             275          (3) Nothing in this chapter limits or enlarges any right granted by express easement.
             276          (4) When leaving a public access area, a person shall remove any refuse or tangible
             277      personal property the person brought into the public access area.
             278          Section 12. Section 73-29-206 is enacted to read:
             279          73-29-206. Fences across public water.
             280          (1) The owner of a public access area adjacent to and lying beneath a public water may
             281      place a fence or obstruction across a public water for agricultural or livestock related purposes.
             282          (2) A fence or other obstruction shall:
             283          (a) comply with an applicable federal, state, or local law; and
             284          (b) be constructed in a manner that does not create an unreasonably dangerous
             285      condition to the public lawfully using the public water.
             286          (3) The owner of a public access area shall allow the placement of a ladder, gate, or
             287      other facility allowing portage around a fence or obstruction if:
             288          (a) the owner places a fence or obstruction across a public water in accordance with
             289      Subsection (1); and
             290          (b) the water is open to public recreational access by permission or under Section
             291      73-29-202 .

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