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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.  IDL manages these lands to provide for their commercial, navigational, recreational and other uses. Part of that management is administering dock/encroachment permits on Idaho lakes and rivers.

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.

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Total Active Encroachment Permits in Fiscal Year 2022

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

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Navigable Waterways GIS Map

Explore this interactive GIS-enabled web application that highlights Idaho's navigable waterways.


Read past editions of Navigable Waterways newsletters, and add your name to our mailing list.


The Legislature first sets broad policy mandates by passing statutes, then state agencies create more detailed administrative rules based on those statutes. Administrative rules are designed to facilitate the implementation of laws. This process allows for the public and more detailed scientific, economic, or industry expertise to help guide how statutes are implemented by state agencies.

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, IDL employees may determine the location of the ordinary high water mark along public trust lands.

Program Contacts


Eric Wilson Bureau Chief Resource Protection and Assistance 


Kemp Smith
Commercial Program Manager
(208) 334-0202


Forest Management/
Forestry Assistance
Coeur d’Alene Staff Office
(208) 769-1525


Todd Wernex
OHV/Recreation Specialist
(208) 334-0282


Sharla Arledge
Public Information Officer
(208) 334-0286

To find and contact your closest Idaho Department of Lands office see our Supervisory Area map.

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