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July 26, 1866, Act in which the mineral lands of the public domain, both surveyed and unsurveyed, were free and open to exploration and occupation by all United States citizens or those declaring intention to become citizens.
The Act declared that mineral lands were open to occupation by all United States citizens or those declaring intention to become citizens, subject to U.S. regulations and local customs or rules of miners in mining districts. Set forth procedures and process for obtaining patent. Sec. 10 provided that owners had vested and accrued rights to use of water for mining, agricultural, manufacturing or other purposes and that those rights would be maintained and protected and the right of way for the construction of ditches and canals for those purposes was acknowledged and confirmed.
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"1866, July 26 - 14 Stat. 251, Act Granting Right of Way to Ditch and Canal Owners over Public Land" (2016). US Government Legislation and Statutes. 13.