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State ex rel. Haman v. Fox

Citation: 9 ELR 20507
No. No. 12430, 594 P.2d 1093/100 Idaho 140, (Idaho, 04/25/1979)

The Supreme Court of Idaho rejects a claim of a public right to use respondent's lakefront beach for recreational purposes. The court first denies the applicability of the prescriptive easement theory, ruling that the general public cannot acquire prescriptive rights in private property because such rights cannot inure to anyone other than actual adverse users. Declining to follow the "implied dedication" rationale to which California adheres, the court further rules that intent of a party to dedicate land to public use must be unequivocal and never merely presumed. Appellants have failed to meet their burden of proof on this issue. Because public use of the beach has not continued "from time immemorial, without interruption," there has been no acquisition of public recreation rights under the "customary usage" doctrine.Finally, the court rejects the contention that the beach property at issue is imbued with a public trust right of access, since appellees' property extends only above the mean high water mark.

Counsel for Plaintiff Appellant
Scott W. Reed, Special Prosecuting Attorney; Robert Thompson, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney
First Federal Bldg., 401 Front St., P.O. Box A, Coeur d'Alene ID 83814
(208) 664-2161

Counsel for Respondents
E. L. Miller
Miller, Knudson & Eismann
816 Sherman Ave., P.O. Box E, Coeur d'Alene ID 83814
(208) 664-8115

Donaldson, Bakes, and Bistline, JJ., concur; Scoggin, J., dissents.