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SB 1317: Public Access Protection Act – 2020

Summary: SB 1317 provides a civil remedy for citizens to ensure that public lands remain accessible.

ICL's position: Support

Current Bill Status: Senate Committee

Issue Areas: Public Lands

Official Legislative Site

Sen. Fred Martin (R-Boise) introduced Senate Bill 1317 which would create a civil remedy to allow citizens to file a complaint against any landowner who wrongly posts public lands as private.

A landowner would first receive a “warning,” and if it happens again within two years, they could receive an “infraction.” On the third offense the landowner would be charged with a misdemeanor.

Many public lands in Idaho are mistakenly (purposefully or by accident) marked with “no trespassing” signs or wrongfully enclosed by fences. In some instances, landowners want to keep people away from their property even though the adjacent property is public.

Currently, only a county sheriff can enforce these laws against landowners. This means our rights to access public lands often go unenforced due to lack of resources or an unwillingness to uphold the law. This bill has been proposed for several years, but this is the first time that it’s been printed.

Citizens have a right to access their public lands, and no one should be able to deny them that right. If county sheriffs are unwilling to enforce the law, then citizens should have the right to ensure that access is preserved.