This week, Utah Stream Access Coalition (USAC) will shift back into courtroom mode, once again arguing for a favorable conclusion to the longstanding legal wranglings over constitutionally-bound public fishing access rights in the Beehive State.

With a finish line now in sight, USAC is asking the Utah Supreme Court to affirm a lower court ruling from November 2015 that found the “Public Waters Access Act” of 2010 to be—quite simply—unconstitutional on several levels. The Act, contrary to its misleading title, curbs the public’s right to use more than 2,700 miles, or about 43 percent, of Utah’s fishable rivers and streams where they flow over privately-owned beds—many miles of which have benefited from publicly-funded projects for habitat improvement, streambank restoration, and flood abatement.

“As we move into the final phase of this long legal battle, the USAC remains optimistic that the Utah Supreme Court will again rule in favor of the public’s right to lawfully access and use state waters,” says Coalition President, Kris Olson. “It’s about affirming the rights and honoring the heritage of all Utahns today, and for generations to come; not disposing of our public resources to private interests or the highest bidder.”

The Court will hear supplemental oral arguments at the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 14.

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Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.

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