The public deserves affirmation, sooner rather than later, of the right to responsibly access the navigable streams of Utah. Common sense favors passage of HB37 rather than protracted court appeals, which, arguably, will eventually bring the state into compliance with the doctrine of navigable water, and with it responsible stream access ("Stream access supporters rally for compromise bill," Tribune, Feb. 11).
Maintaining high water quality of our streams is a public responsibility legislated to be administered by the state through the Division of Water Quality. This necessarily requires periodic stream access by public employees for monitoring stream health and mitigating problems such as non-point-source pollution.
Additional public employee access is legislated to allow our Department of Natural Resources to plant trout in our streams for public fishing, not for private privilege at public (taxpayer) expense.
Clearly, the established precedent of responsible public access is a citizen right, not a privilege.
State Water Quality Board
Salt Lake City
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