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  • Saturday, October 04, 2008

    And The Beat Goes On

    JUST WHAT IS PUBLIC ACCESS ?
    Does $$$ Really Talk
    it's not over yet
    .. The continuing battle between Montana's citizens and their ownership and access to the waters of their state, and recent moneyed interests attempting to usurp and curtail that legal ownership and access continues.
    .. A decision in the four year old Ruby River case has been reached. It's a split decision, and allows both public access, and attachment of fences to county bridges. This fight is certainly far from over.
    .. In their last session the Montana Legislature addressed the problem and came to no conclusion as the battle died on the floor of the statehouse.
    .. The case of Mitchell Slough is dormant but still alive after over 25 years of tussle. And daily there is action and reaction with fishers entering streams that cross private land.
    .. It seems that this is a situation that is destined to be part of the growing pains of our state as new and moneyed interests gobble up tracts of land that contain flowing water.
    .. It's hard to be overly critical of the newcomers since it's the old-timers that are doing the selling. However, tradition, history, and state law are in favor of access to these waters.
    .. Yesterday the Montana Standard ran a comprehensive story about the Ruby River decision on their web site. Best Fly Fishing Yellowstone picked it up and reprinted it.
    .. Only vigilance and continued action and involvement will keep our traditions and laws in favor of the general public and not the entitled few. We are reminded of our Samuel Adams quote in the sidebar ". . . it does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires in people's minds."
    .. We take this opportunity to thank the participants in the latest court battle and especially the staff of the non profit organization Public Lands Access Association. Their web site is constantly updated and informative - put it on your feed reader. These folks are hard working, dogged and talented. THANK YOU!
    .. And, we would certainly be remiss if we failed to thank the MWA; the monitoring and reporting group concerned with the state of our waters.