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Take Action Articles

Have you traveled the Mabee Road?

01/20/2017We need your help right now…We need your help again, but this time we're not asking for money. In the process of a court case the defendants want to know if any PLWA members have traveled the Mabee Road, just north of Roy, Montana, in Fergus County. If you have, please contact us at membership@plwa.   ... (more)

Ruby River Stream Access Case is Finally Over !

It is Over. The controversy on the Ruby River, a legal battle that that has continued for nearly twenty years, has finally been resolved. The last date for either side to appeal the case to a higher court has passed.   ... (more)

Did You Know You Have A Public Trust Duty?

There's some misinformation floating around this election cycle, some candidate co-opting of the stream access issue, as well as some general lack of understanding of how Montana achieved some of our recreational access. We didn't have it handed to us on a silver platter, it was fought for and at times paid for by some key individuals who were passionate about access. We thought it a good time to shine a light on some truths, otherwise, we could be looking at an “Access” Ground Hogs Day in our future.   ... (more)

Illegal Road Closures in Montana

“The time has come the walrus said, to speak of many things”. We in the Public Land Access Association (PLWA) say, “OK let’s speak about roads.”As the reader might know, our organization has been dealing with road and trail access to public land and water for over thirty years.   ... (more)

Letter to Ducks Unlimted

Mr. Dale Hall November 20, 2015Chief Executive OfficerDucks UnlimitedOne Waterfowl WayMemphis, TN 38120Dear Mr. HallI am president of the Montana Public Land and Water Access Association, PLWA.   ... (more)

Elk Sellers

Montanas big game herds have become big business. Several properties now advertise a hunt for bull elk at $15,000. It might include a trespass fee or a guided hunt but the elk is the product.   ... (more)

This Land is Your Land

The idea has been around for a while now, dating back to the Nevada-based Sage Brush Rebellion of the 1980s. Like a lot of bad ideas, it can be dressed up to look good at first glance: Get those vast, "mismanaged" tracts of western public land out of the hands of the distant, incompetent federal government and into the hands of people who know how to use it right. However, in its current iteration the push to disburse these federal lands represents a greater threat to the future of American hunting than anything the anti-hunters could have come up with in their wildest dreams.   ... (more)

Transfer of public land to the State of Montana

It doesn't take much for certain groups and individuals to jump on the “Fantasy Wagon”. Like with so many of these situations, some believe the fantasy and others use it for political advantage. Does anyone really think the citizens of the United States, who own these lands, are going to allow a small state like Montana to take control of a huge chunk of their National Forest and other public ;property?   ... (more)

All Montanans hurt by privatizing public land

Unwise suggestion To recent news articles advocating state takeover of public land, the only phrase that applies is “horse pucky.” Many groups have been involved in this issue since former secretaries of the Interior James Watt and Gayle Norton inspired the “Sagebrush Rebellion” more than two decades ago. Turning over our public land didn’t happen then, and it won’t happen now.   ... (more)

Durfee Hills Land Exchange

John GibsonPLWA PresidentI am disturbed by the Wilks brothers’ coercive tactics to gain ownership of the Durfee Hills.No state or federal agency, including the BLM, should negotiate with a gun at its head. The Wilks brothers have no apparent reason to block access to 50,000 acres of public land with armed guards on the Bullwacker Road other than to coerce the BLM into giving up public ownership of the Durfee Hills.   ... (more)

Read previous political action articles in the archive
In Montana, most families hunt, fish, or recreate on public lands and waters. But we are an overlooked constituency. Special interests hoping to profit from privatizing public land and water often prevail.

Someone once said “The world is run by people who show up and speak up”. In regard to public access, nothing could be truer. If access advocates and citizens don’t stand up and speak up, public lands will be sold, public roads will be chained off, public bridges will be barricaded, and private special interests will get their way. You are the key to preserving access!

Public Officials

Public Official Contact Information (link) for addresses and contact information.

At the national level, let your congressmen know how you stand on legislation effecting access. (Names and contact info listed on this site.)

At the state level, pay attention to the governor’s office and the legislature first and foremost. The most important thing is to find out how the candidates stand on access issues, and vote accordingly. Without the right folks in power, you are likely to be wasting your time advocating for public access.

Every two years the legislature meets and considers important access bills. Contact your legislator to carry an access bill or get them to co-sponsor access bills. Attend committee hearings. Legislators are often callous to professional lobbyists, so citizen testimony can carry the day. If unable to attend, E-mailing and calling representatives can go a long way in influencing proper voting. A complete list of legislators and contact information can be found on the legislative website http://leg.mt.gov.

PLWA is an affiliate of the Montana Wildlife Federation (MWF) which does most of the heavy lifting at the Helena Capitol level for us. This includes lobbying and coordination with state agencies. (PLWA members should also join MWF. See their website www.montanawildlife.com )

In between sessions pay attention to the various agencies, committees, and groups affecting public access policy. These include the Forest Service and the BLM at the federal level. At the state level watch action by Fish Wildlife and Parks Commission, FWP Private Land Public Wildlife Council, and Regional Citizens Advisory Councils. Stay informed and show up. It will make a big difference. Also at the state level, stay tuned to the actions of the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. (DNRC.) They are important players as they control state land.

Many, if not most, of the site specific access problems involve your County Commissioners. Get to know them and show up commission meetings with your input.


Letters to the editors of your local newspaper on current access problems are very effective. Most rational letters are published and are an excellent way to communicate to citizen’s issues involving public access. Contact one of the directors for assistance in drafting a letter if you feel we could be of help. The link Montana Newspaper Information on this website will give you addresses and contact information.


(If you know of developing or existing impediments to public access, forward information to PLWA.) We can help you do the research in order to make a determination of the merits and appropriate action. Our directors and volunteers have had substantial experience in the U.S. Forest Service, BLM and other state and federal government agencies.

Public Land/Water Access Association Inc. or PLWA, is a citizen group organized and operated under the Montana nonprofit corporation act.

Articles and Information on this site represent the opinion of the writer and are not intended as legal advice. Legal counsel may be needed in dealing with specific access situations and issues.
      PLWA.ORG   -   Public Land & Water Association