If it seems that the laws, legal precedents, precedents, and beliefs regarding access to streams in the U.S. are confusing, contradictory, and in some cases irrational and unjust, it's because they are. Making public policy on these issues uniform and understandable is an ongoing process. It reminds me of Jim Crow law in the Southern states, a time and place in which I grew up. Institutionalized racial prejudice didn't disappear with the passage of major civil rights bills and constitutional amendments in the 1960's. The bigots kept on being bigots, and prejudice had to be beaten into submission, one court decision at a time. In places like Montana and Utah, a few troglodites are still trying to turn back the clock. Or as an old Western saying had it: "Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting."