And let’s take a moment to welcome one of the biggest issues of the 2018 session – non-meandered lakes!

It has reared its head in the legislature before as farmland was flooded into lakes, and unexpectedly, the State Supreme Court has thrown this issue back into chaos – with sportsmen in one corner, and landowners in the other:

The South Dakota Supreme Court dealt a victory to private property owners in a ruling that says a state agency doesn’t have the legal authority to allow people access to flooded waters or ice over private property without legislative approval.

The decision represents a blow to South Dakota Game Fish & Parks, which had argued that all water was accessible to the public if it could be reached without trespassing on private land. It also represents a defeat for hunters and anglers who argued that all waters in the state should be accessible to the public.

The decision stems from a lawsuit brought by landowners in Day County against the GF&P as well as a class action against people accessing two sloughs.

Read it all here.

And read the decision here:

Supreme Court on Water Access by Pat Powers on Scribd

One of the most recent efforts at mediating the situation through legislation that was attempted in 2014… a bill that was tabled by the State Senate 31-3.

But obviously emboldened by the recent court decision, watch for the battle lines to be fought all the more fiercely next year.

3 Replies to “And let’s take a moment to welcome one of the biggest issues of the 2018 session – non-meandered lakes!”

  1. Charlie Hoffman

    Pat there are so many working angles to this puzzle I hate thinking about it. But property rights under Common Law which our Constitution was written to introspect are inalienable under British Common Law standards.

    In any estimation of private land owner rights the fluid part-water; has always been given high grounded common law open rights. But once frozen and obviously not fluid that open trespass enjoyment should become trespass. Gather all that in a well written Bill and we would find much common ground.

  2. chief

    I like the Courts decision. If it’s your land and you pay taxes on it; every Tom, Dick, and Harry shouldn’t be able to be on your property just because it happens to be flooded, frozen or not ! That should be totally up to your discretion as to whom you want in and how and when.