Republicans vote against Montana's Stream Access Law

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Republicans vote against Montana's Stream Access Law

Postby quackpipe » Sun Dec 24, 2006 12:36 pm

Please take the time to read this article on Stream Access in Montana is a bit of what is incluced in this report. I beg you as sportsman to contact your representatives and tell them that stream access is one of the most important issues we will vote on and that any attack or vote against steam access is absolutely unacceptable.
House Bill 560 would have guaranteed the public’s right to gain access to streams at public bridges, its right-of-way or its abutments. It would have allowed recreationists to portage around barriers on private land and give authority to Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks to investigate whether a fence, barrier or obstruction across a stream constituted a public safety violation and to direct the landowner to remove the barrier. When the bill was heard in the House Fish & Game Committee, ten democrats voted in favor and ten republicans voted against the bill. Scott Sales, Roger Koopman and Bill Warden, all from Bozeman, voted against public access to streams. We must hold our representatives accountable when they ignore the public’s request to legally gain access to our streams.
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Postby montana quackhead » Mon Dec 25, 2006 7:40 pm

Babylon sh!tstem! If that law passes, I will refuse to obey it! Stream access is our access and as a Montanan, I will fight for my right, to party! :salude: :salude: :salude:
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Postby wingnutty » Tue Dec 26, 2006 4:25 pm

IF you wanna fight for your right, then call your reps! Otherwise you will obey the law or be paying some heavy fines and possibly serving a few days in the county big house. :eek:
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Postby quackpipe » Sat Feb 10, 2007 11:49 am

Here is an update from the newspaper. Nemont can explain how this will play out if anyone has any questions. He is our local political expert. I am too busy breeding with my relatives to make sense of this.

HELENA - Despite warnings that landowners are being put in an “impossible position,” the state Senate on Friday endorsed a bill saying the public can use any county-road bridge right-of-way to gain access to streams.

The Senate voted 31-19 for Senate Bill 78, the session’s most prominent stream-access bill, with all but one of the chamber’s 26 Democrats in favor. Six Republicans also voted for it.

The bill stems from high-profile disputes involving landowners who are refusing to allow access to streams that run through their Montana property.

Supporters said SB78 is a good compromise that spells out how anglers, boaters and other recreationists can access Montana’s rivers and streams, which are legally owned by the public.

If the Legislature doesn’t set out the rules in law, those who want to use the rivers for recreation will press the issue in court, and the result may be more onerous for landowners whose property surrounds the stream, they said.

“The choice for the Senate today is whether you want to make boundaries and make the rules and make the law (here),” said Sen. Larry Jent, D-Bozeman. “It’s this bill or let the courts do it.”

But opponents - most of them ranchers - said the measure is no compromise, forcing landowners to make sure any fencing at bridge crossings does not block access to the stream underneath.

“This bill only goes one way,” said Sen. Bob Story Jr., R-Park City. “The landowner doesn’t get anything out of this bill.”

The bill faces a final, binding vote in the Senate before it goes to the House, which is controlled by Republicans.

Sen. Lane Larson, D-Billings and sponsor of SB78, said he’s “cautiously optimistic” about the bill’s chances for passage in the House.

SB78 says landowners can build a fence attached to the bridge that crosses a stream, but must get a permit from the local county commission to do so - and the fence cannot block access to the stream.

If the county determines that the fence blocks access to the stream, it can alter the fence or require the landowner to alter it so access is allowed.

The bill also allows anyone to protest to the county commission that a fence is denying public access to the stream. The commission’s subsequent decision can be appealed in District Court, at which point an arbitration panel chosen by court will decide whether the fence blocks access.

The panel’s decision may be appealed again to District Court, for a decision by the judge.

Sen. Jim Peterson, R-Buffalo, said the bill doesn’t make any sense, because any fence a landowner builds up to a bridge is going to hinder access to the stream underneath.

“You’re putting the landowner in an absolutely impossible position and you’re putting the county in the middle of it,” he said.

Sen. Gregory Barkus, R-Kalispell, said the bill has good intentions, but is the wrong way to approach the problem. Instead, state fish-and-game officials should try to negotiate access at some of the 130 county road bridge crossings, he said.

“They’ve got plenty of resources to contact landowners and make a safe access point,” he said. “I don’t want an in-your-face piece of legislation ”

Larson, however, said he’s been working with landowners and sportsmen’s groups for more than a year on what he called a “proactive solution” that will maintain Montana’s fishing heritage for everyone.

“I would prefer that (parents and their children) have the opportunity to fish, rather than talk about why we can’t get down to the river at this bridge, or the next bridge,” he said.
Last edited by quackpipe on Sun Feb 11, 2007 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby quackpipe » Sun Feb 11, 2007 3:17 pm

For those of you who still support these Republicans, paste this link into your browser so you can fill out a form supporting your representatives.
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Postby nemont » Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:28 am

quackpipe wrote:Here is an update from the newspaper. Nemont can explain how this will play out if anyone has any questions. He is our local political expert. I am too busy breeding with my relatives to make sense of this.

I took the quote down about you breeding with your relatives. I also didn't claim to a political expert. I said I have gone to Helena 6 times so far to testify against limiting access. This particular bill deals only with bridges and not much of anything else. It will most likely be defeated or heavily amended to the point the sponsor will withdraw it.

You started the issue by throwing the entire Republican party under the bus. Have you spent any time in Helena and working on this issue? If you haven't then you should take some time to figure out the whole issue. There are Democrats who support limiting access and there are Republicans who will fight tooth and nail to keep the status quo.

Your original post offended me and frankly pi$$ed me off to the point of questioning your heritage and disparaging your family tree. I should not have attacked you personally but the rest of my posts remain true. Go to Helena, get into the back rooms and listen to the testimony rather then believe what is said on the House and Senate floor.

Last edited by nemont on Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby quackpipe » Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:59 pm

Nemont - I applaud your inititive in supporting access in Helena. I don't claim to be an expert on the whole affair and would appreciate you explaining in laymans terms why you do not think people should vote for this bill. I know you say it only has to do with bridges, but I use bridges for access, my friends do, and my clients do. I have had problems with landowners about access issues where I legally accessed from a public right of way. On top of it, our part of the state is seeing more and more recreationalists trying to use a limited number of access points. This has gotten to the point of the powers that be are considering limiting and or permiting the use of certain local rivers. People were actually being turned away from the Blackfoot this past summer because there were too many people at the limited access points. There is already a limited number of access points on our rivers, and the less we have, then the more crowded the streams will be and the poorer our experiences will be on these rivers. I still don't understand why it is ok for the Republican's or Democrat's to vote against this. I didn't make them vote this way and was only throwing the people under the bus who voted against this. They happened to be Republicans. Please clear up for us why this does not deserve our support.
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Postby nemont » Tue Feb 13, 2007 1:10 pm

I didn't say don't support this bill. I said it is not a partisan issue. The question is should the county or the state of Montana be the government level to administer access at bridges. What frustrated me is that you are painting every Republican with the same brush. There were many Republicans who voted for this bill because guaranteeing access at bridge abutments is a good thing.

I actually support this Bill but I am also a realist. This will either die in committee or be heavily amended by the House. I think the house leadership will never let this bill see the light of day as it is written.

What should concern everyone is the courts and what they may do.

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Postby Troutslayer » Thu Feb 15, 2007 2:38 pm

You may have heard about Senate Bill 78, legislation to establish public access to streams at bridges while allowing landowners to control livestock with fences. It has passed through the Senate and will be working through the House during March. FOAM strongly supports SB78.

Rep. Mike Milburn (R, Cascade) has introduced House Bill 642, legislation that would place control of access at bridges into landowner hands by expressly denying public use of bridges to access streams they cross. It also allows landowners to legally fence up to a bridge abutment, and seek funding from FWP's 'fishing access enhancement program' to 'purchase or lease public fishing access at county road bridge crossings from willing landowners' or to construct fences that allow 'safe' access for public fishing.

From our reading, the bill rejects the current Attorney General opinion that states county road easements (the space available for public use) are typically 60' wide and that easement continues along the bridge abutments down to the stream. HB642 specifically shrinks that 60' easement to the 'width of the travelway of the bridge and it's abutments', and prohibits public access via that easement except for some stringent circumstances, one being the permission of the landowner.
The FOAM board has discussed this new legislation and will oppose it on Feb. 20 before the House Fish & Game Committee in Helena.
A PDF copy of HB642 is attached to this email.

If you oppose this legislation yourself, please let the House Fish & Game Committee members know what you think.

Thanks for your help on this important issue.

You may contact the House Fish & Game Committee members via email using the following list:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Mike Milburn (R)
HD 19

Arlene Becker (D)
HD 52

Gordon R Hendrick (R)
Vice Chair
HD 14

Debby Barrett (R)
HD 72

Gary Branae (D)
HD 54

Douglas Cordier (D)
HD 3

Robyn Driscoll (D)
Vice Chair
HD 51

Ernie Dutton (R)
HD 56

George G Groesbeck (D)
HD 74

Edward Hilbert (R)
HD 38

Rick Jore (C)
HD 12

Harry Klock (R)
HD 83

Roger Koopman (R)
HD 70

Ken Peterson (R)
HD 46

Mike Phillips (D)
HD 66

Kendall Van Dyk (D)
HD 49

Chas Vincent (R)
HD 2

John Ward (R)
HD 84

Bill Wilson (D)
HD 22
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Postby RiverRock » Sun Feb 18, 2007 11:52 pm

Ah, Troutslayer.

I just got the same post you just listed. I'm sure you know where from.
Good to see others like us involved.

Here's my 2 cents boys.

The intersection of a roadway and a river and JUST like the intersection of a highway and another highway. You can't build a highway with NO on or off ramps. It is the responsiblity of the state to make sure people can get access to highway. The state or county should be responsible for putting "MAN GATES" down the sides of bridge abuttments. Farmers and ranchers should be required to attatch their fences to the MAIN post of the man gates. Each bridge would require 4 MAN GATES. Two on the upstream side of the bridge, and two on the downstream side of the bridge. This solution solves the farmers compaints, make a clear and concise boundary for the public to abide by, and lets us all fish.

Now, how do we fund it? Each bridge is going to be the cost of 16 posts and a little barbed wire to build the man gates. If this solution would guarantee access to fishing at river crossings, I bet this plan wouldn't cost the state or the ranchers a penny. Local TU chapters, Fishermans clubs, Rod and Gun Clubs, fly shops and many others would gladly drive the 16 posts and string the wire for FREE. If that doesn't work, I'd gladly support a dollar or 2 more on my license fees to GUARANTEE I have access from any bridge.

This is NOT political. Here's why. The supreme court has already ruled that melting snow is a PUBLIC WATERWAY. It is a navitagble stream, just lik e highway is a navitagable road. Landowners DON"T own it. These rich asswipes buying up our land need to get over it, and just buy in Wyoming or Colorado if they want to control fishing. Same with local farmers. Deal with it. If you've got a spring or a pond, you own it. If its snow melt, its public. That's the way it WILL come down in court and thats just the way it is. Take my proposal, (which I sent on to all the people in Troutslayers list), give everyone something they want and we'll move on.
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Postby quackpipe » Wed Feb 21, 2007 5:59 pm

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