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Durfee Hills Land Exchange

Not at the point of a gun

John Gibson
PLWA President

I 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.

This style might work in Texas, but they had better look at their hole card before trying it in Montana. Yes, they are within legal rights to block the road, but there are other considerations such as being a good neighbor.

The Wilkses have greased the skids politically with campaign contributions to the majority party in our Legislature, but that is not the only option Montana Citizens have to protect our public estate. Ask the outfitters about Citizens Initiative 161 or the billionaire on the Ruby River who challenged our stream access law.

How about bringing an initiative that placed all trophy elk and deer in large landholdings under our permit system where the landowner can only negotiate access with permit holders of which only 10 percent can be nonresidents. In addition, any violation of this or bull/cow ratio or total population objectives would result in the issuance of only cow or doe permits in subsequent years. We expect our Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department to manage our wildlife resources under the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. We will not allow the Wilks brothers to change that.

Why not open the Bullwacker Road with no strings attached and then work in good faith with the public agencies involved?.

related articles

Ruby River Stream Access Victory
( 07/01/2016 )   7/1/2016PLWA, once again, has been victorious in the battle for the public's stream access on the Ruby River, from the Seyler Lane Bridge, likely the original stagecoach route from Salt Lake City, north to Virginia City and Helena.It has been over a decade that PLWA (formerly known as PLAAI) has been involved in a lawsuit over public access to the Ruby River from Seyler Lane and the Seyler Bridge, a public prescriptive easement right-of-way in Madison County.

"Dark Money" Brought to Light
( 07/01/2016 )   The June-July, Newscasts section of Fly Fisherman reported on the recent investigation by Montana's Commissioner of Political Practices, Jonathan Motl, into a dark money campaign that could overturn Montana's Stream Access.Fly Fisherman recounted the Montana Growth Network's campaign contributions to District Judge Laurie McKinnon's run for our Montana Supreme Court.

public land issues

Seyler Lane Update
9/24/2015Seyler Bridge Easement - More Than Just RecreationUpdate - Kennedys attorney requested a postponement of the September 21 hearing.

Tenderfoot - Four Years and Counting
9/24/2015Tenderfoot Creek is a tributary of the Smith River, joining the Smith a mile or so north of Camp Baker.

    18 more public land issues

82 years to catch a redfish

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.
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