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What Others Are Saying About PLWAMontana Sporting Journal - JUNE-2010
The Montana Sporting Journal in it's June 2010 edition opined as follows
about the access problem in Montana :
" LA ND GRAB"
"With the exception of the matter on wolves, no topic is more prevalent
to Montana hunting and fishing circles than the problem of access.
Even though the good ol’ days of healthy wildlife populations and wild
trout fisheries are still here today, it means less if we cannot enjoy
them. While Montana’s stream access laws are very accommodating and
are safe for now, hunting access is gradually becoming more endangered
across the state.
Just in the past year, access to public land has been making major
headlines. Citizens and watchdog groups such as the
PUBLIC LAND / WATER ACCESS ASSOCIATION (PLWA) are
heightening their demand that historically-public roads remain open to
the public and routes to large tracts of state or federal land be available.
When lawsuits are pending and eminent domain is threatened, the
seriousness of the situation is obvious.
Landowners often paint the conflict as an attack on private land
rights. In two cases-one in the Missouri Breaks and one in the
Gallatin National Forest-it was a matter of landowners closing roads
which crossed their properties; in turn, this shut down entrance to
national refuge and national forest lands, respectively. Both roads
were used by the public for decades. Even though I am a proponent of
upholding private land rights, being a hunter, it is difficult to side
with the landowners in these cases. Having also been confronted by
ornery landowners a number of times while hunting legally-accessible
state land, my tolerance is waning.
As hunting on private land continues to become rarer, the demand to
recreate (not just hunting) on our public lands will grow. The
solutions to these conflicts will be difficult and many questions must
be answered. How many access points to a national forest are
necessary? Do we pay landowners to allow an easement across the
property? What is a public road? If the public cannot access a large
parcel of land managed by our state or national entities, should a
private landowner be granted that privilege? Should he or she be
allowed to benefit from it commercially, by guiding hunters or selling
them access to it?
Editor, Montana Sporting Journal "
(PLWA note: The Montana Sporting Journal is an outstanding publication devoted to hunting and fishing in Montana. The editor Jay Hanson has his digs in Lewistown, Montana so he knows the territory. Pick up a copy at your newsstand or subscribe at www.sportingjournal.com )