William Mitchell Law Review


Kirstin Kanski

Publication Information

30 William Mitchell Law Review 725 (2003-2004)


Minnesotans have always taken pride in the vast rivers and lakes intricately woven throughout the state. This land-water mosaic has always been integral to state development. Yet regardless of how vital Minnesota's lakes are considered to be, the law must keep apace with the dynamic and innovative society it serves. Today, the typical Minnesotan thinks in terms of driving to work, not rowing. The Daniel decision thus renders Minnesota's cartway statute obsolete due to modern modes of transportation. In examining the Daniel decision, this case note begins with the historical development of Minnesota's cartway legislation and an overview of the state power utilized in condemning cartways. A brief comparison is then made between statutory cartways and the typical common law easement by necessity. A description of the relevant facts and reasoning of the Daniel decision follows. This note contends that the Daniel court correctly limited its decision to one of statutory interpretation. The court properly interpreted the statute in consideration of the state transportation arena that existed in 1913. The cartway statute and its interpretation are then compared to current water access trends in both statutory and common law. This note concludes that Minnesota's cartway statute, as interpreted by the Minnesota Supreme Court, finds itself antiquated and in need of amendment due to the transportation needs of today's society.