Proper about now, landowners in Colorado making an attempt to maintain anglers out of the rivers operating by way of their properties are possible fuming mad.

That’s as a result of the U.S. Supreme Courtroom declined to overturn a New Mexico Supreme Courtroom ruling that permits anglers to stroll stream beds and banks inside historic high-water marks. It’s an enormous deal for anglers and entry advocates in New Mexico, and it’ll possible resonate with entry teams in different states, like Colorado, the place authorized imbroglios over entry to rivers and streams are ongoing. It could possibly be precedent-setting.

“We maintain that the general public has the precise to recreate and fish in public waters and that this proper contains the privilege to do such acts as are fairly essential to impact the enjoyment of such proper,” the New Mexico Supreme Courtroom acknowledged in its ruling final fall. The ruling got here after entry advocates challenged a New Mexico Recreation and Fish Fee regulation that allowed landowners to shut down entry to rivers and streams throughout their property was implement in 2017.

This week, the U.S. Supreme Courtroom, moderately than take up the case, merely refused to listen to arguments from landowners in New Mexico who challenged the September 2022 New Mexico Supreme Courtroom ruling. Understandably, entry advocates in New Mexico are very pleased with the excessive courtroom’s inaction.

“New Mexico is a dry state and there’s growing demand for recreation on our rivers and streams,” mentioned Jesse Duebel, govt director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “The New Mexico Wildlife Federation and our allies gained’t stand by and watch our public waters be fenced off to develop into non-public playgrounds completely for the rich.”

The shortage of Supreme Courtroom intervention isn’t deterring some landowners, nevertheless. “This isn’t going to finish right here, I can let you know that,” Dan Perry, proprietor of Chama Troutstalkers LLC, informed the Albuquerque Journal. “There are various authorized issues I can do.”

Based on the paper, Perry owns a ranch on the Chama River and is now involved his property values have taken a success due to public entry that was granted by the state’s high-court ruling final fall.

“I imagine now that, underneath the Fifth Modification, that the state of New Mexico has taken my non-public property rights from me, so I in all probability have a explanation for motion to sue for the loss in worth of my property,” he informed the Journal. Perry additionally mentioned he and different landowners may attempt to change the state’s structure to limit public entry to waters crossing non-public lands.

That, nevertheless, could be a troublesome hill to climb. One of many pillars of an identical argument over stream entry in Colorado is that rivers and streams are public assets all around the nation, and that they have been used for transportation, supply of products and for fishing nicely earlier than state strains have been drawn and the state was admitted to the union.

“Each New Mexican has a proper to take pleasure in our public streams — it’s in our state structure and it’s what I’ve spent years preventing for in our state courts,” mentioned U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich earlier this week in a ready assertion in response to the Supreme Courtroom’s choice to abdicate on the case.

“Final yr, the New Mexico Supreme Courtroom reaffirmed this proper,” Heinrich mentioned. “Now the US Supreme Courtroom has successfully reaffirmed it, too, by ending the attraction introduced by those that tried to denationalise our waters for the good thing about rich landowners with out-of-state ties.”

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