In the 1998 case, the Sierra Club successfully challenged a private landowner on the Moose River in Hamilton County to establish the right of paddlers to cross private tracts.
Tuesday's ruling said paddlers also had the right to make a 500-foot portage on the private land along the Mud Pond waterway to get around a stretch of rapids. It said the landowners were free to continue to post and prosecute trespassers that fish or enter other parts of their property.
"While this case was about one stream, the wider implication is we had a property owner trying to turn back the law to the view of the public right of navigation that existed before the Moose River decision," Caffrey said. "It's good that the proper interpretation of the law prevailed."
Dennis Phillips, the lawyer for the landowners, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.