Thursday, February 10, 2011

Please take action now to protect Montana stream access from HB 309!!

Rep. Jeff Wellborn (R-Dillon) is sponsoring a dangerous and frighteningly stupid bill in the Montana House that will severely weaken public access on many of Montana's most famous and productive trout streams. The bill is essentially a manipulative re-wording of the current Montana stream access law, and would redefine miles and miles of what are now public waterways as private "irrigation ditches" that would provide no legal public access.

This bill would impact and potentially eliminate public access on portions and entire channels of the Big Hole, Beaverhead, Bitterroot, Clark Fork, Ruby, Jefferson, Gallatin and Yellowstone rivers along with many, many more. Why a representative from one of these communities would ever want to negatively impact the significant economic benefits tourism and recreation dollars bring to Beaverhead County and countless other communities in Montana escapes me. Much of the appeal of Montana fly fishing--the reason thousands of anglers travel here and spend millions of dollars each year on gas, lodging, food, equipment, guided trips, park fees, licenses, and tell their friends to come to Montana as well--is our incredible public stream access. Take away the access, and those folks will take their fishing trips and their money elsewhere.

If you ever want to fish here again:

Then click here to learn more about HB 309 and find out how to contact your local legislators. Tell them to say "NO" to HB 309 to protect everyone's right to enjoy the tremendous public resources--and preserve what has become a way of life--in this remarkable state.

Montana Trout Unlimited Action Alert Against House Bill 309

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