By Douglas M. MacDowell

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Page 1 I The Development of the Public Trust Doctrine A. Some Relevant Recent History In the late 1960s the public in the United States dramatically changed its attitudes toward our nation's environment and the uses to which our lands and resources should be put. The public developed an increased awareness of the relationship between the environment and human health and welfare, and became intensely concerned about the quality of its physical environment and the appropriate regulation of land and resource use.

Any federal grant was thus limited to the area above the high watermark. Id. at 219, 229. 27. Id. 28. See generally ch. , Shively v. S. 1 (1894); Knight v. S. S. 161 (1891). 29. Hardin v. S. 371, 382 (1891). 30. Id. at 383. See Phillips Petroleum, 484 at 483; and ch. 2, sec. F dealing with conveyances of public trust lands and termination of the trust. 31. Smith v. S. 71, 74 (1855). 35 The breadth of the state's authority to regulate public trust lands is directly related to the public interests that the doctrine is intended to protect.

16 The central idea of the public trust doctrine has always been that each state holds its coastal waters and the land underneath them for the benefit of the public. Until recently, however, American coastal managers have tended to use the public trust doctrine primarily as a legal restriction rather than as an affirmative management tool. The Massachusetts Bay Colony's Ordinances of 1641 and 1647, in which the doctrine made its American debut, foreshadowed its thrust in American law over the following three centuries.

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