Institute for Justice Lauds Decision Allowing Landowners to Exclude Trespassers From “Public Waters Wetlands”

John Kramer
John Kramer · February 5, 1996

Washington, D.C. –The murky yet vital issues surrounding the private property rights of owners of “public waters wetlands” in Minnesota were resolved today by Anoka County District Judge Edward W. Bearse in a case filed by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice on behalf of John and Josephine Bronczyk.

“Courts should always take seriously issues involving private property rights,” declared Judge Bearse. Interpreting a Minnesota statute that appeared to give the public access to privately owned wetlands, Bearse ruled that “it appears that the plaintiffs would be justified in posting their land ‘no trespassing’ and/or ‘no hunting’, in seeking the removal and prosecution of any trespassers, and in actively enforcing all of their legal rights as owners of private property.”

The judge granted the defendant Department of Natural Resources’ motion to dismiss the case, but on the grounds that the DNR made concessions during the lawsuit that brought the agency into agreement with the Bronczyks, thus eliminating a legal controversy.

“This is precisely the statement of legal rights the Bronczyks wanted from the DNR all along, but the DNR refused to provide,” remarked Institute for Justice Staff Attorney Dana Berliner, lead attorney for the Bronczyks. “Now the private property rights of all Minnesotans are more secure.”

“For far too long, the DNR has acted in a cavalier and heavy-handed manner toward private property owners in Minnesota,” declared Clint Bolick, the Institute’s litigation director. “This ruling should help curb the DNR’s voracious regulatory appetite.”

The Institute for Justice advances a rule of law under which individuals control their destinies as free and responsible members of society. Through strategic litigation, training, and outreach, the Institute secures greater protection for individual liberty, challenges the scope and ideology of the Regulatory Welfare State, and illustrates and extends the benefits of freedom to those whose full enjoyment of liberty is denied by government. The Institute was founded in September 1991 by William Mellor and Bolick.



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