What is the Public Trust?
History of the Public Trust
What are Public Trust Lands?
Ownership and Use Issues
Landmark Court Decisions
- Prohibition on selling oceanfront tidelands: People v. Morrill, 26 Cal. 336 (1864)
- Limitations on legislative powers to give away trust lands: Illinois Central Railroad Co. v. Illinois, 146 US 387 (1892)
- Public Trust rights remain in sold tidelands: People v. Calif. Fish Co., 166 Cal. 576 (1913)
- Restrictions on use of Public Trust assets for local benefit: Mallon v. Long Beach, 44 Cal.2d 199 (1955)
- Protection of public interest in boundary and title settlements: Long Beach v. Mansell, 3 C.3d 462 (1970) Orange County v. Helm, 30 C.A.3d 694 (1973)
- Public Trust uses include environmental protection: Marks v. Whitney, 6 C.3d 251 (1971)
- Public navigation rights in privately owned streams: People v. Mack, 19 C.A.3d 1040 (1971) People v. El Dorado Co., 96 C.A.3d 403 (1979)
- Public Trust rights on lands sold in central San Francisco Bay: Berkeley v. Superior Court, 26 C.3d 515 (1980)
- Public Trust rights on lands between high and low water on non-tidal navigable lakes and streams: Calif. v. Sup. Court (Lyon), 29 C.3d 210 (1981) Calif. v. Sup. Court (Fogerty), 29 C.3d 240 (1981)
- Water rights, subject to Public Trust protections: Nat. Audubon Soc. v. Sup. Court, 33 C.3d 419 (1983)
The Commission’s core purpose is to protect the lands and resources entrusted to its care through balanced management, marine protection and pollution prevention, adaptation to climate change, and ensuring public access to these lands and waters for current and future generations of Californians. The Commission is dedicated to safeguarding and promoting the public’s access rights to waterways and the coastline.
- A legal guide to the public’s rights to access and use California’s navigable waters
- Public Access Brochure | en Español
For hard copies of these publications contact staff at CSLC.PublicAccess@slc.ca.gov or 916.574.1900.