Conatser v. Johnson

Utah Supreme Court
2008 UT 48, 194 P.3d 897

The waters of the State of Utah, both above and below the ground, belong to the public, subject to all existing rights to use the water. The public’s right include an easement over the water regardless of who owns the bed beneath, and also includes use of the water for recreational purposes.

The public’s easement over the waters of the state encompasses the right to utilize water, including use for recreational purposes, and is not limited to activities that can only be performed upon the water. The scope of the easement necessarily includes the right to touch stream beds in all ways incidental to all recreational rights included in the easement, even if the stream crosses private property, and even if the stream bed is considered private property.

The public’s use of the easement must be for a lawful use, be in a reasonable manner, and not cause unnecessary injury to the landowner.

Full Text of Conatser v. Johnson