In a recent public meeting in Coalville, Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson- backed by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Natural Resources, and the State Attorney General’s Office- announced that the Upper Weber River is open for public, water-based recreation.
A one-mile stretch of the Weber River in Oakley has been the topic of several court cases dating back to 2010. In November 2017, a Utah court declared that the contested one-mile stretch was navigable which opened the doors for the public to recreate on that stretch, provided each individual enters the river through a public access point. The November ruling, however, did not address the remaining 39 miles of the Upper Weber River that runs between Echo and Holiday Park.
Olson indicated at the meeting that, after traveling to the river to assess navigability, the longer stretch of the river between the confluence of the Middle Fork and Main Fork of the Weber River fall under the November 2017 ruling and are open to the public for recreation. Olson also made it clear that her interpretation of the ruling and her stance on public access to the Weber River does not make that section of the river a free-for-all. The public is limited to accessing the surface and riverbed below the permanent vegetative line for the purpose of water-based recreation. Individuals may only enter the river from a public right of way or locations where a public bridge crosses the river.
Sensitive to private property rights and previous concerns of litter and property damage, Olson made it clear trespassing violations will be enforced and that any confrontation that may occur on the river should immediately be reported to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.