Senate Narrowly Refuses Recreationists Bill For Non-Meandered Waters

Feb 12, 2018

Credit Lee Strubinger / SDPB

The South Dakota Senate is denying to take up a bill that opens all non-meandered lakes to recreational use.

Senate Bill 199 opens any non-meandered lakes over private property. Recreationists could use those lakes without permission from the landowner.

Recreationists and supporters of the bill are calling for a due process to open public waters over private land.

It’s the opposite of what’s been called the “Open Waters Compromise” that lawmakers passed last summer.

State Senator Jason Frerichs represents District 1, where many non-meandered lakes still linger.

“In the grand scheme of things I believe that the current law works,” Frerichs says. “I think the Game, Fish and Parks has the opportunity to work with the land owners to negotiate working with opening up these closed bodies of water and provide agreements that are workable for both sides. I’m more in favor of keeping the current law in place and enhancing that, than throwing out the work that we did over the summer.”

The Senate decides on a 16 to 19 vote not to place the bill on the calendar for debate.

Last week after three hours of testimony, the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources committee sent the bill down to the Senate floor without supporting the bill.