Download Zipped Introduced WordPerfect HB0141S02.ZIP
[Status][Bill Documents][Fiscal Note][Bills Directory]

Second Substitute H.B. 141

Senator Dennis E. Stowell 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          .    recognizes a limited recreational floating right on public water;
             19          .    outlines circumstances under which the public may acquire recreational access to
             20      public water on private property;
             21          .    provides a process for the declaration of the right to certain public recreational
             22      access based on historical adverse use;
             23          .    provides for injunctions;
             24          .    addresses the chapter's effect on other uses of public waters;
             25          .    requires a person using a public access area to remove refuse and personal property;

             26          .    addresses fences across public water; and
             27          .    makes technical and conforming amendments.
             28      Monies Appropriated in this Bill:
             29          None
             30      Other Special Clauses:
             31          This bill provides an effective date.
             32      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             33      AMENDS:
             34          57-14-4, as last amended by Laws of Utah 1997, Chapter 62
             35          73-1-1, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             36      ENACTS:
             37          73-29-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             38          73-29-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             39          73-29-103, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             40          73-29-201, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             41          73-29-202, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             42          73-29-203, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             43          73-29-204, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             44          73-29-205, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             45          73-29-206, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             46          73-29-207, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             47          73-29-208, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             48      REPEALS AND REENACTS:
             49          57-14-1, as last amended by Laws of Utah 1997, Chapter 62
             51      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             52          Section 1. Section 57-14-1 is repealed and reenacted to read:
             53          57-14-1. Legislative purpose.
             54          This chapter's purpose is to limit the liability of public and private land owners toward a
             55      person entering the owner's land as a trespasser or for recreational purposes, whether by
             56      permission or by operation of Title 73, Chapter 29, Public Waters Access Act.

             57          Section 2. Section 57-14-4 is amended to read:
             58           57-14-4. Use of private land without charge -- Effect.
             59          (1) Except as provided in Subsection 57-14-6 (1), an owner of land who either directly
             60      or indirectly invites or permits without charge or for a nominal fee of not more than $1 per year
             61      any person to use the land for any recreational purpose, or an owner of a public access area
             62      open to public recreational access under Title 73, Chapter 29, Public Waters Access Act, does
             63      not thereby:
             64          [(1)] (a) make any representation or extend any assurance that the premises are safe for
             65      any purpose;
             66          [(2)] (b) confer upon the person the legal status of an invitee or licensee to whom a
             67      duty of care is owed;
             68          [(3)] (c) assume responsibility for or incur liability for any injury to persons or property
             69      caused by an act or omission of the person or any other person who enters upon the land; or
             70          [(4)] (d) owe any duty to curtail the owner's use of his land during its use for
             71      recreational purposes.
             72          (2) This section applies to the relationship between an owner of land and a trespasser.
             73          Section 3. Section 73-1-1 is amended to read:
             74           73-1-1. Waters declared property of public.
             75          (1) All waters in this state, whether above or under the ground are hereby declared to
             76      be the property of the public, subject to all existing rights to the use thereof.
             77          (2) The declaration of public ownership of water in Subsection (1) does not create or
             78      recognize an easement for public recreational use on private property.
             79          (3) The Legislature shall govern the use of public water for beneficial purposes, as
             80      limited by constitutional protections for private property.
             81          (4) The right of the public to use public water for recreational purposes is governed by
             82      Chapter 29, Public Waters Access Act.
             83          Section 4. Section 73-29-101 is enacted to read:

Part 1. General Provisions

             86          73-29-101. Title.
             87          This chapter is known as the "Public Waters Access Act."

             88          Section 55. Section 73-29-102 is enacted to read:
             89          73-29-102. Definitions.
             90          As used in this chapter:
             91          (1) "Division" means the Division of Wildlife Resources.
             92          (2) "Floating access" means the right to access public water flowing over private
             93      property for floating and fishing while floating upon the water.
             94          (3) "Impounded wetlands" means a wetland or wetland pond that is formed or the level
             95      of which is controlled by a dike, berm, or headgate that retains or manages the flow or depth of
             96      water, including connecting channels.
             97          (4) "Navigable water" means a water course that in its natural state without the aid of
             98      artificial means is useful for commerce and has a useful capacity as a public highway of
             99      transportation.
             100          (5) "Private property to which access is restricted" means privately owned real
             101      property:
             102          (a) that is cultivated land, as defined in Section 23-20-14 ;
             103          (b) that is:
             104          (i) properly posted, as defined in Section 23-20-14 ;
             105          (ii) posted as described in Subsection 76-6-206 (2)(b)(iii); or
             106          (iii) posted as described in Subsection 76-6-206.3 (2)(c);
             107          (c) that is fenced or enclosed as described in:
             108          (i) Subsection 76-6-206 (2)(b)(ii); or
             109          (ii) Subsection 76-6-206.3 (2)(b); or
             110          (d) that the owner or a person authorized to act on the owner's behalf has requested a
             111      person to leave as provided by:
             112          (i) Section 23-20-14 ;
             113          (ii) Subsection 76-6-206 (2)(b)(i); or
             114          (iii) Subsection 76-6-206.3 (2)(a).
             115          (6) "Public access area" means the limited part of privately owned property that:
             116          (a) lies beneath or within three feet of a public water or that is the most direct, least
             117      invasive, and closest means of portage around an obstruction in a public water; and
             118          (b) is open to public recreational access under Section 73-29-203 ; and

             119          (c) can be accessed from an adjoining public assess area or public right-of-way.
             120          (7) "Public recreational access" means the right to engage in recreational access
             121      established in accordance with Section 73-29-203 .
             122          (8) (a) "Public water" means water:
             123          (i) described in Section 73-1-1 ; and
             124          (ii) flowing or collecting on the surface:
             125          (A) within a natural or realigned channel; or
             126          (B) in a natural lake, pond, or reservoir on a natural or realigned channel.
             127          (b) "Public water" does not include water flowing or collecting:
             128          (i) on impounded wetland;
             129          (ii) a migratory bird production area, as defined in Section 23-28-102 ;
             130          (iii) on private property in a manmade:
             131          (A) irrigation canal;
             132          (B) irrigation ditch; or
             133          (C) impoundment or reservoir constructed outside of a natural or realigned channel; or
             134          (iv) on a jurisdictional wetland described in 33 C.F.R. 328.3.
             135          (9) (a) "Recreational access" means to use a public water and to touch a public access
             136      area incidental to the use of the public water for:
             137          (i) floating;
             138          (ii) fishing; or
             139          (iii) waterfowl hunting conducted:
             140          (A) in compliance with applicable law or rule, including Sections 23-20-8 , 73-29-203 ,
             141      and 76-10-508 ; and
             142          (B) so that the individual who engages in the waterfowl hunting shoots a firearm only
             143      while within a public access area and no closer than 600 feet of any dwelling.
             144          (b) "Recreational access" does not include:
             145          (i) hunting, except as provided in Subsection (9)(a)(iii);
             146          (ii) wading without engaging in activity described in Subsection (9)(a); or
             147          (iii) any other activity.
             148          Section 6. Section 73-29-103 is enacted to read:
             149          73-29-103. Declarations.

             150          The Legislature declares:
             151          (1) the Utah Constitution's specific private property protections, including recognition
             152      of the inalienable right to acquire, possess, and protect property and the prohibition on taking
             153      or damaging private property for public use without just compensation, protect against
             154      government's broad recognition or grant of a public recreation easement to access or use public
             155      water on private property;
             156          (2) general constitutional and statutory provisions declaring public ownership of water
             157      and recognizing existing rights of use are insufficient to overcome the specific constitutional
             158      protections for private property and do not justify inviting widespread unauthorized invasion of
             159      private property for recreation purposes where public access has never existed or has not
             160      existed for a sufficient period and under the conditions required to support recognition under
             161      this chapter;
             162          (3) whether, or to what extent, a public easement exists for recreational use of public
             163      waters on private property is uncertain after judicial decisions in the cases of J.J.N.P. Co. v.
             164      State, 655 P.2d 1133 (Utah 1982) and Conatser v. Johnson, 194 P.3d 897 (Utah 2008), which
             165      decisions did not address the constitutional prohibition on taking or damaging private property
             166      without just compensation;
             167          (4) legislative failure to provide guidance before, coupled with legislative inaction after
             168      the 1982 decision in J.J.N.P. Co. v. State form a compelling foundation for the Legislature to
             169      affirm a limited right to float on the water without violating the constitutional protections of the
             170      underlying private property;
             171          (5) the real and substantial invasion of private property rights did not occur with
             172      recognition of the right to float on water that passes over the land, but with the right, first
             173      recognized in Conatser v. Johnson, to physically occupy the land for an indeterminate time and
             174      for a wide range of activities by the public against the owner's will and without just
             175      compensation;
             176          (6) its intent to foster restoration of the accommodation existing between recreational
             177      users and private property owners before the decision in Conatser v. Johnson, affirm a floating
             178      right recognized by the court in J.J.N.P. Co. v. State, and recognize adverse use as a
             179      constitutionally sound and manageable basis for establishing a limited right of public
             180      recreational access on private property in accordance with this chapter.

             181          Section 7. Section 73-29-201 is enacted to read:
Part 2. Recreational Access to Public Water

             183          73-29-201. General access provisions.
             184          (1) The public may use a public water for recreational activity if the public water:
             185          (a) (i) is a navigable water; or
             186          (ii) is on public property; and
             187          (b) the recreational activity is not otherwise prohibited by law.
             188          (2) A person may access and use a public water on private property for any lawful
             189      purpose with the private property owner's permission.
             190          (3) A person may not access or use a public water on private property for recreational
             191      purposes if the private property is property to which access is restricted, unless public
             192      recreational access is established under Section 73-29-203.
             193          Section 8. Section 73-29-202 is enacted to read:
             194          73-29-202. Public right to float on public waters.
             195          (1) There is a public right to float on public water that has sufficient width, depth, and
             196      flow to allow free passage of the chosen vessel at the time of floating.
             197          (2) Subsection (1) includes the right to:
             198          (a) incidentally touch private property as required for safe passage and continued
             199      movement;
             200          (b) portage around a dangerous obstruction in the water, if portage is made in a manner
             201      that is:
             202          (i) most direct;
             203          (ii) least invasive; and
             204          (iii) closest to the water; and
             205          (c) fish while floating.
             206          (3) A person exercising the right this section recognizes:
             207          (a) shall enter and exit the water at a point on public property or private property with
             208      permission of the owner; and
             209          (b) may not stop on private property.
             210          (4) (a) The right this section recognizes does not prevent the establishment of broader
             211      public recreational access in accordance with this chapter.

             212          (b) Notwithstanding Subsection (4)(a), the right this section recognizes does not
             213      establish broader public recreational access.
             214          Section 9. Section 73-29-203 is enacted to read:
             215          73-29-203. Establishment of public recreational access.
             216          (1) Public recreational access is established if:
             217          (a) the private property has been used by the public for recreational access requiring the
             218      use of the public water for a period of at least 10 consecutive years that begins after September
             219      22, 1982; and
             220          (b) the public use has been:
             221          (i) continuous during the season conducive to the recreational access;
             222          (ii) open and notorious;
             223          (iii) adverse; and
             224          (iv) without interruption.
             225          (2) The permissive use of a public water on private property granted by the owner is
             226      not an adverse use.
             227          (3) (a) A property owner's overt act intended to interrupt uninvited recreational access
             228      is a sufficient interruption to restart any period of use that may have already begun under
             229      Subsection (1) if the evidence, taken as a whole, shows that the act came to the attention of the
             230      public or resulted in actual interruption.
             231          (b) If an overt act is established in a final judgment to have interrupted recreational
             232      access, no other person may challenge the existence of the overt act in a subsequent action.
             233          (4) The extent and nature of the public recreational access permitted under Subsection
             234      (1) is determined by the nature of the historical recreational access during the 10 consecutive
             235      years required under Subsection (1).
             236          (5) When a public water is a lake, pond, or reservoir located on a natural stream and on
             237      private property, any portion that has been developed or protected for private hunting is not
             238      subject to public recreational access even though the remainder of the public water qualifies for
             239      public recreational access under this section.
             240          (6) A right of public recreational access on private property established in accordance
             241      with this section, may not be closed without authorization of other law.
             242          Section 10. Section 73-29-204 is enacted to read:

             243          73-29-204. Quiet title action.
             244          (1) (a) A person, including the division, may file a quiet title action in accordance with
             245      Title 78B, Chapter 6, Part 13, Quiet Title, to obtain a judicial declaration of the existence of a
             246      right to public recreational access under Section 73-29-203 .
             247          (b) The division may intervene in a quiet title action filed in accordance with
             248      Subsection (1).

             249          (c) The division may not be compelled to:
             250          (i) file a quiet title action; or
             251          (ii) join a quiet title action filed by another person.
             252          (2) The claimant in a quiet title action under Subsection (1) shall:
             253          (a) name the property owner of record as a party; and
             254          (b) notify the division of the suit by certified mail no later than 20 days after the day on
             255      which the quiet title action is filed.
             256          (3) Within five days after receiving notice in accordance with Subsection (2)(b), the
             257      division shall post notice of a quiet title action under this section on its Internet website.
             258          (4) A quiet title action under this section shall be commenced within four years after
             259      the day on which a period of prescriptive use ceases.
             260          (5) The burden of proof for a quiet title action under this section is on the claimant to
             261      prove the existence of a right to public recreational access or floating access under Section
             262      73-29-203 by clear and convincing evidence.
             263          (6) A quiet title action under this section is limited to a declaration concerning the
             264      property and property owner joined in the action.
             265          (7) (a) Multiple claimants and multiple property owners may be included in a quiet title
             266      action concerning public water common to the property owners.
             267          (b) In a case with multiple property owners, the court shall make a separate finding
             268      concerning each property owner included in the action.
             269          (8) A final judgment on the merits that a piece of private property is not subject to
             270      public recreational access:
             271          (a) is binding; and
             272          (b) may not be challenged in subsequent litigation.
             273          (9) The court may award attorney fees and costs in an action under this section if the

             274      court finds that the losing party's arguments lack a reasonable basis in law or fact.
             275          Section 11. Section 73-29-205 is enacted to read:
             276          73-29-205. Injunctive relief.
             277          (1) The owner of private property may obtain injunctive relief against a person who,
             278      without permission, enters, remains, or persists in an effort to enter or remain on the owner's
             279      property for recreational use of public water other than use in accordance with Sections
             280      73-29-202 and 73-29-203 , when effective.
             281          (2) An injunction under this section is in addition to any remedy for trespass.
             282          (3) The existence of an easement under Section 73-29-203 is a defense in an action for
             283      injunctive relief under this section or a claim of trespass under other law.
             284          (4) If a person against whom an injunction is sought, or a person charged with trespass,
             285      establishes by clear and convincing evidence the existence of an easement for defense
             286      purposes, as described in Subsection (3), the establishment of the existence of the easement
             287      applies only to the defense and does not constitute a judicial declaration of the easement's
             288      existence for another purpose.
             289          (5) If an owner obtains an injunction against a person under this section, the injunction
             290      does not serve as a declaration that there is no public easement on the owner's property.
             291          (6) The court may award attorney fees and costs in an action under this section if the
             292      court finds that the losing party's arguments lack a reasonable basis in law or fact.
             293          Section 12. Section 73-29-206 is enacted to read:
             294          73-29-206. Effect of chapter on other uses and restrictions -- Required acts.
             295          (1) Nothing in this chapter affects the right of the public to use public water for public
             296      recreational access, including the touching of the bed beneath the public water if:
             297          (a) the bed beneath the public water is public property; or
             298          (b) the bed beneath the public water is private property to which access is not
             299      restricted.
             300          (2) A person using a public water for public recreational access is subject to any other
             301      restriction lawfully placed on the use of the public water by a governmental entity with
             302      authority to restrict the use of the public water.
             303          (3) Nothing in this chapter limits or enlarges any right granted by express easement.
             304          (4) When leaving a public access area, a person shall remove any refuse or tangible

             305      personal property the person brought into the public access area.
             306          Section 13. Section 73-29-207 is enacted to read:
             307          73-29-207. Fences across public water.
             308          (1) The owner of a public access area adjacent to and lying beneath a public water may
             309      place a fence or obstruction across a public water for agricultural, livestock, or other lawful
             310      purposes.
             311          (2) A fence or other obstruction shall:
             312          (a) comply with an applicable federal, state, or local law; and
             313          (b) be constructed in a manner that does not create an unreasonably dangerous
             314      condition to the public lawfully using the public water.
             315          (3) The owner of a public access area shall allow the placement of a ladder, gate, or
             316      other facility allowing portage around a fence or obstruction if:
             317          (a) the owner places a fence or obstruction across a public water in accordance with
             318      Subsection (1); and
             319          (b) the water is open to public recreational access by permission or under Section
             320      73-29-203 .
             321          Section 14. Section 73-29-208 is enacted to read:
             322          73-29-208. Severability.
             323          If any of this chapter's provisions, or the application of any of this chapter's provisions,
             324      is held to be unconstitutional, the provision is severable and this chapter's other provisions and
             325      applications remain effective.
             326          Section 15. Effective date.
             327          If approved by two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, this bill takes effect
             328      upon approval by the governor, or the day following the constitutional time limit of Utah
             329      Constitution Article VII, Section 8, without the governor's signature, or in the case of a veto,
             330      the date of veto override, except that Sections 73-29-203 and 73-29-204 take effect on May 10,
             331      2011.

[Bill Documents][Bills Directory]