public trust doctrine


The principle that certain natural and cultural resources are preserved for public use, and that the government owns and must protect and maintain these resources for the public's use.


The doctrine's most frequent application is to bodies of water. Throughout the United States, most lakes and streams are maintained under the public trust doctrine, typically for the purposes of drinking and recreational activities. 

public use

The right of the public to use property taken by the government through the exercise of its power of eminent domain. Any property taken by eminent domain must be for a public use. Some jurisdictions define public use broadly to mean a public benefit, while other jurisdictions limit its meaning to only actual use by the public.


1) The body politic, or the people of a state, nation, or municipality. 2) Under the authority of the government or belonging and available to the people; not private. It may refer to an entity, agency, or activity. For example, there are both public and private schools, public and private utilities, public and private hospitals, public and private lands, and public and private roads.


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