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Idaho’s public trust lands are the lands submerged below the ordinary high water mark of navigable lakes and rivers. Title to these lands is held in trust and is administered for the public benefit rather than for a specific beneficiary. IDL manages these lands to provide for their commercial, navigational, recreational and other uses. 

Lake Protection Act

Authorization and sometimes compensation is required to construct or otherwise use the space above, in, or under the beds of navigable waterways in Idaho.

We administer the Idaho Lake Protection Act and regulate encroachments and activities on, in, or above the navigable lakes in the State of Idaho. Encroachments are anything permanently fixed to the lake bed or natural features of the lake bed (such as rocks). Examples of navigational and non navigational encroachments permitted by the IDL include docks, marinas, bridges, utility lines, mooring buoys, and float homes.

Riverbed Administration

Additionally, the IDL administers ownership of public trust lands along navigable rivers by processing land disclaimers and issuing easements and riverbed leases for commodities such as sand and gravel.

Navigable Waters

List of navigable waters

At any time, the State of Idaho may determine through court action or some other means that additional lakes and rivers will be declared navigable for title purposes. The authority to conclusively determine navigability rests with the State Board of Land Commissioners and ultimately with the courts. However, Department employees may determine the location of the ordinary high water mark along public trust lands.


Department Contact – Boise Staff Office

Eric Wilson, Bureau Chief
Resource Protection and Assistance Bureau
Public Trust Lands
(208) 334-0261

For questions specific to a location, please contact the nearest Supervisory Area

Administrative Hearings

Upcoming hearings

Additional Resources

Cougar Bay Letter

Disclaimer of Interest

Encroachment Permits

Riverbed Mineral Lease/Exploration Location

Submerged Land Easement

Submerged Land Lease


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