Utah anglers have struggled with stream access issues the past few years. As these issues arose it became clear that the anglers would have to unite and become organized to battle against the Farm Bureau to rectify the situation. With this in mind the Utah Stream Access Coalition (USAC) was formed. (to learn more visit the USAC website http://utahstreamaccess.org/ or visit them on Facebook). To get an idea of what has taken place check out this timeline from the USAC website : http://utahstreamaccess.org/usac-wp/timeline/
Recently I spent some time chatting with USAC President, Herbert (Bert) Ley about the current status of the lawsuits aimed at reversing the bad bill. Bert informed me of the two cases that USAC hopes will restore access to Utah’s waterways. The cases can be viewed here:
Case #1 Public Waters Case http://utahstreamaccess.org/usac-wp/public-waters-case/
Case #2 Navigability Case http://utahstreamaccess.org/usac-wp/navigability-case/
Case #1 is moving forward while Case #2 is on hold awaiting the PPL Montana vs. State of Montana case http://utahstreamaccess.org/usac-wp/ppl-montana-v-state-of-montana/ The ruling on the Montana case will provide some intel and possibly ammunition based on the navigability ruling of the US Supreme Court.
If you or anyone you know may be interested in this fight for access please join USAC. There are no dues to pay, you simply have to agree to the mission of the Coalition which is: “The Mission of the Utah Stream Access Coalition is to promote and assist in all aspects of securing and maintaining pubic access to Utah’s public waters and streambeds.” http://utahstreamaccess.org/usac-wp/mission-statement/
We all have a vote, and we can be better informed by joining USAC. You don’t have to live or fish in Utah to join either, in fact there are groups in other states keeping an eye on the proceedings to learn how to fight the good fight and improve access on their waterways. USAC would like to represent all interested parties so please sign up here: http://utahstreamaccess.org/usac-wp/membership/
Bert says the long term goals of the Coalition include creating access points and parking areas but the current focus is on improving accessibility. Currently there are court costs, filing fees, publication fees etc… which are being paid by donations to USAC. USAC is a non-profit organization and they could really use donations to help fund the progress of this fight. If you can donate, please visit their website: http://utahstreamaccess.org/usac-wp/donate/
Ross Purnell, editor of Fly Fisherman magazine provided this look at the Utah Stream access issue in September 2011: http://www.flyfisherman.com/2011/09/21/winning-battles-in-the-utah-stream-access-war/
Christopher Smart of the Salt Lake Tribune wrote this piece on the subject: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/52529408-78/public-utah-coalition-court.html.csp?page=1
Take a minute or two, read up on the issue and join USAC!