Loss of Another Pioneer Access Advocate
by Bernard Lea
We lost another dedicated public land access advocate this year, Dennis Grundman of Big Sky, MT. Dennis passed away on February 16, 2020.
Dennis joined PLWA in the early 80’s to support Montana’s extremely popular and vital Stream Access Law and other access issues. Dennis worked hard for PLWA while serving as a board member for many years. Dennis led the way to shore up PLWA’s finances by pushing us to fund raise more actively, which was essential if we were to survive financially and achieve our public access goals. He urged us to engage all other sportsmen, access and conversation groups who supported access to public land and water to request they join our quest.
John Gibson was President and I was Vice President when Dennis joined PLWA. PLWA was a young, loosely organized cause. We did not operate with a board in those days. Deciding which cases we would pursue was poorly structured. The first John and I knew we were in a court case on the Ruby River was when Dennis and Tony Schoonen advised us that public access to the Ruby River near Sheridan, Montana was being blatantly blocked, and Dennis and Tony had hired the Goetz Law Firm to take it to court.
History has affirmed the wisdom of what they started. This case worked out very well for Montana’s residents and visitors who cherish access to their public lands and waters. The decisions associated with this case are foundational to our public access, which to many of us take for granted.
PLWA is honored that many of Dennis’s friends and relatives made donations in his remembrance to further PLWA’s public access goals and one of Dennis’s most cherished values. I am honored to have known him as a public access champion and friend. Dennis, rest in peace my friend.