The first part of this article will trace the history of the public trust doctrine from Roman times, through its application in England, and thence to its development in the United States to the present. The more important issues associated with the doctrine, such as the constitutional "takings clause" argument, will be discussed. The second part of the article will trace the public trust doctrine in North Carolina and explore the underpinnings and rationale of the State v. Credle decision. It will also discuss the issues raised in part one with regard to their application in North Carolina. Finally, the article will consider the practical effects of the opinion upon the environment and the people of this state.
Valerie B. Spalding, The Pearl in the Oyster: The Public Trust Doctrine in North Carolina, 12 Campbell L. Rev. 23 (1989).