More Groups Join Montana Stream Access Fight

Changes to stream access laws are the greatest threat to anglers in Montana who have had the right to access rivers and streams from bridges. However, landowners are making multiple pushes to get that law erased so that anglers could only access the water from fishing access sites or through private land with permission (good luck).

Here is an update on the access headaches in Montana, right from the epicenter in Madison County. If there’s an opportunity to chime in, do so, because this law would influence access across the state. We’ve always had the right to access public water and we shouldn’t let a few knothead, wealthy landowners take it away.

From the Montana Standard Conservative property rights groups and conservation organizationshave become involved in the bitter, eight-year legal fight over access to Montana streams from bridges.

Two conservative groups – the United Property Owners of Montana and the Political Economy Research Center – have filed friend of the court briefs in the case between a sportsmen’s group and Madison County. In addition, Montana Trout Unlimited has entered the fray on the other side to support the Public Lands Access Association in the case.

The lawsuit, originally filed in 2004, was against the county over access to the Ruby River, near Sheridan, from a bridge on the property of James Cox Kennedy, a billionaire media heir. The case prompted the passage of a law by the Legislature that guaranteed bridge access from established county roads, but this year a Madison County district judge ruled that access for recreational use is not guaranteed on roads established by a historic use through a prescriptive easement.

Bruce Farling, Montana Trout Unlimited executive director, said the case has become the latest in a READ MORE

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