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Legal Milestone List

  Berrien County Courthouse
  Elloitt-Larsen Civil Rights Act
  Milliken v. Bradley
  Elk, Oil, and the Environment
  Whisper to Rallying Cry
  Poletown & Eminent Domain
  Prentiss M. Brown
  Otis Milton Smith
  Freedom Road
  President Gerald R. Ford
  Mary Coleman
  Committee of One
  Milo Radulovich
  Striking Racial Covenants
  Murphy's Dissent
  Conveying Michigan
  Ending Jim Crow
  Pond's Defense
  Mount Clemens Pottery
  Emelia Schaub
  Rose of Aberlone
  Protecting the Impaired
  Laughing Whitefish
  The Uninvited Ear
  The King's Grant
  Improving Justice
  One Person—One Vote
  Eva Belles' Vote
  Constitutional Convention
  Ten Hours or No Sawdust
  Access to Public Water
  Augustus Woodward
  Sojourner Truth
  Justice William Fletcher
  Roosevelt-Newett Trial
  Cooley Law Office
  Baseball Reserve Clause
  Ossian Sweet Trial


8. Public Access to Public Water

On a pleasant May morning in 1925, Gideon Gerhardt stepped into the Pine River near here to do a little trout fishing. That act triggered one of the most important public water rights cases in United States history, Collins v. Gerhardt. resulting decision affirmed the rights of the public to the use of public waters.

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Public Access to Public Water

On a pleasant May morning in 1925, Gideon Gerhardt stepped into the Pine River near here to do a little trout fishing. That act triggered one of the most important public water rights cases in United States history, Collins v. Gerhardt. The resulting decision affirmed the rights of the public to the use of public waters.

The land surrounding Mr. Gerhardt's chosen fishing spot was owned by Frank Collins, who brought a civil action for trespass. After a local court ruled in favor of Mr. Collins, the case reached the Michigan Supreme Court, which reversed the decision. for the majority in April 1926, Justice John S. McDonald wrote, "So long as water flows and fish swim in Pine River, the people may fish at their pleasure in any part of the stream subject only to the restraints and regulations imposed by the state."

Federal appeals kept the issue alive until 1936, but the legal principle set forth by the Michigan Supreme Court remained unshaken, and guarantees to future generations the right to the recreational use of Michigan's rivers and streams.

Placed by the State Bar of Michigan and the Mason-Lake Counties Bar Association, 1988.

   
 

 

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State Bar of Michigan
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