Farm Bureau Applauds Utah House for Turning Back Trespass Bill

Ranchers speak with legislators in the Utah capitol.

The Colorado Farm Bureau and other groups in opposition to House Bill 1188, the controversial “Right to Float” bill, are praising the Utah House of Representatives for killing a similar measure introduced into that body. Last Tuesday, the Utah House defeated a measure that would have given recreational water users the right to trespass on private property along streambeds, so long as they could have seen the high water mark, and remained below it

Colorado Farm Bureau President Alan Foutz said upon hearing the news, “Both parties in the Utah House understand the importance of private property rights and I hope Colorado’s state senators to do the right thing and kill HB 1188, the ‘right to trespass’ bill.”

“We have heard over and over again from HB 1118 proponents that Colorado is the only Western state with unsettled law on the ‘floating’ issue. I think this action proves otherwise.”

As in Colorado, agricultural and landowner interests in Utah opposed the taking of private property rights that the two similar bills represent and reject the notion that recreation and access is under assault. Groups opposed to the bill say that direct cooperation between landowners and recreational users has been successful in balancing the interests of all parties.

“Frankly, the on-going success of the floating industry in both Colorado and Utah is a testament to the effectiveness of the current system. That the recreational water users in both states have grown and thrived under the current system, argues for more local cooperation and less statewide intervention,” concluded Foutz.

Colorado’s HB 1188 has been passed by the House, and has yet to be assigned to a requisite committee for consideration in the Senate. The Colorado Farm Bureau, 26 member organizations of the Colorado Ag Council, 11 other state level organizations and several newspapers around the state oppose HB 1188.

(Image: Salt Lake Tribune)

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