Publication Title

Washington Law Review


coastal zone management, public trust doctrine, Washington State

Document Type



The public trust doctrine is an ancient doctrine that has recently emerged as a powerful tool to protect the public interest in tidelands and shorelands. Created and developed by the judiciary, the doctrine's principles have found their way into several of Washington's regulatory statutes, such as the Shoreline Management Act and the Aquatic Lands Act. This Article traces the development of the doctrine in Washington, and explains the relation between the state's police power and the public trust doctrine. This Article also sets forth the current contours of the public trust doctrine in Washington, and charts potential future developments of this dynamic common law doctrine.



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