The New Mexico Supreme Courtroom on Thursday issued a written opinion concerning public entry to river and stream beds that defined the courtroom’s reasoning for a choice from the bench earlier this yr.
In March, the supreme courtroom issued a ruling from the bench, after a short deliberation, that river and stream beds are simply as public because the water above them. On Thursday, in an opinion written by New Mexico Supreme Courtroom Chief Justice Michael Vigil, the courtroom additional defined its unanimous resolution.
“The query right here is whether or not the best to recreate and fish in public water additionally permits the general public the best to the touch the privately owned beds under these waters,” Vigil wrote. “We conclude that it does.”
The excessive courtroom burdened that “the general public’s easement contains solely such use as within reason essential to the utilization of the water itself and any use of the beds and banks should be of minimal influence.”
“Strolling and wading on the privately owned beds beneath public water within reason obligatory for the enjoyment of many types of fishing and recreation,” Vigil wrote. “Having stated that, we stress that the general public might neither trespass on privately owned land to entry public water, nor trespass on privately owned land from public water.”
The state supreme courtroom’s opinion additionally said that not solely was it unconstitutional to bar wading or fishing in streams and rivers with privately owned beds, however that it was additionally unconstitutional for the New Mexico State Recreation Fee to problem laws barring these actions on privately owned river beds.
The Recreation Fee has since repealed the rule that allowed individuals to petition to have sections of water that flowed via their property closed to public entry.
“We conclude not solely that the Laws are unconstitutional, but additionally that the Fee lacked the authority to promulgate the Laws,” Vigil wrote.
The authorized battle goes again to 2015 when the New Mexico Legislature enacted a brand new part of present regulation that prohibited entry to privately owned river beds inside non-navigable waters. That regulation change spurred a handful of surroundings and outside recreation teams to file a writ of mandamus, or a request for the courtroom to intervene. NM Political Report beforehand wrote concerning the contention between those groups and a bunch of landowners who intervened within the case.