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A must read for Western Hunters
Here in Colorado, We need to get a funding mechanism to improve public access before it is gone here too.
That area has been in use by the public through an easement for over 100 years. When the FS guys told people to keep using it under the active easement....suddenly he was removed from his post. Where was Zinke on that?
This is the single largest issue facing western hunters today IMO. If we don't do something now we will continue to lose access at an ever increasing rate until even more millions of acres are lost to us. Join BHA or other public access groups and contact your legislators. This impacts all hunters. Even those in the east, you may want to travel west someday and find that your dreams of chasing big bulls or bucks has turned to dust because all you find is locked gates.
I have been following this story closely. I reeks of political collusion. Zinke should have stood up for the public on this, but I have heard nothing. (But his actions/inaction indicate he is supportive of the landowner steps)
It's a serious problem here in Wyoming as well....but how do you fight it when the politicians are in the pockets of the big money ranchers? There is sooooo much public ground that can't be touched by the public because of access or the no corner jumping laws here. What can be done?
The real question is, is there another access, or is this just the most convenient one the hunter preferred? Corner access is an entirely separate issue. Each trail access issue has to be fought individually as circumstances and previous ownership varies. You can always sue the landowner if you feel you have data to support it. Just because people have trespassed for years does not make it right. As I mentioned, circumstances vary, hire a lawyer specializing in land and access and take these landowners on.
Z Barebow's Link
I’ve been following Zinke’s actions since he got confirmed and really don’t think sportsman are going to get any help from him. His actions as Secretary interior have ,in my opinion, been disappointing. His actions are lock step with this administration: say he’s all for keeping public lands to your face while reducing it and offering to the highest bidder behind your back. Keep in mind management has at least as big of an effect as ownership. Anyone that believes our public land access isn’t still under threat, hasn’t been paying attention. But hey, at least we can use lead bullets and shot again... Unbelievable
"The real question is, is there another access, or is this just the most convenient one the hunter preferred? Corner access is an entirely separate issue. Each trail access issue has to be fought individually as circumstances and previous ownership varies. You can always sue the landowner if you feel you have data to support it. Just because people have trespassed for years does not make it right. As I mentioned, circumstances vary, hire a lawyer specializing in land and access and take these landowners on. "
Respectfully disagree. The big picture is losing access via Forest Service trails to public land. Your approach is divide and conquer.
What has changed over the years? The commercialization of hunting. The landowners no longer solely rely upon ranching as a livelihood.
And corner crossing is a related issue. When you look at the checkerboard of ownership in the Crazy Mountains, do you think landowners would block trail access if the public could legally cross at section corners? Where possible, trails would be shifted to corners and gates would look like this video clip.
Use a helicopter to drop off and pick up. Problem solved.
Corner crossing is related, but from a standpoint of making headway you have to break down the battles and focus. You cannot take on all Montana access issues with a broad brush. Corner crossing is not the same as deciding if a specific road is public or private, two totally different court cases.
SixLomaz- Unfortunately that is only legal when accessing BLM. Forest Service land- No can do.
If it is a road, the hunting groups would do themselves a huge favor by partnering with ATV and Jeep groups to keep roads open...
Often times hunters and hunting groups like to stand alone, but there is power in numbers...
If it is a road, the hunting groups would do themselves a huge favor by partnering with ATV and Jeep groups to keep roads open...
Often times hunters and hunting groups like to stand alone, but there is power in numbers...
This is not a corner crossing issue.
This is a public easement that has been in place hundreds of years. It is literally THE only access to the entire north half of the range on the east side.
I can understand a landowner not wanting some of these slobs on their property, even just as a right of way.
As a DIY bowhunter, it ticks me off that a rancher can lock off a huge chunk of public ground to use as his own little preserve.
Any rancher who pastures his cattle on BLM land or any public land should not be allowed to block off any public access. I know they pay fee but it's not that much. I raise beef cattle around all private property, if we don't get rain and my pastures dry up I pay a premium for hay to feed my cattle. There using public land they should not stop anyone from using public land. But anyone crossing private property on a designated route should respect the landowners and his property.
I would encourage Montana folks and others to join PLWA to help fight these very issues. They are truly amazing. Backcountry Hunters and Anglers are also fighting the good fight. We need to join together to save out public lands. "Keep public lands in public hands!"
IF it was a public access for so long and was up for sale, the govt. should of purchased the property to guarantee the access remain. IMO the Federal govt. owns way too much property in the west. A lot of this property should be returned to the states. The problem is so many states are poorly managed fiscally and many are afraid the broke states will sell off the land. National Parks have almost doubled their fees to enter the park to pay for infrastructure repairs.
I'm actually going into the Crazy mountains this weekend. Have never been there until a few weeks ago. This is some really impressive and beautiful country, never mind the fact that it has one of Montana's largest mountain goat populations, which we are going in to hunt. I think it is absolutely ridiculous that there is any public land cannot be accessed by the public. How is it that in a checkerboard land situation, that the private landowner can stop the public from passing through, but the public land owners cannot in turn stop the private landowner from passing through public land to get to their land? If the government can take your land to build a highway, surely they can require that the public have access to all public land.
Says the guy from Wisconsin. I'm not making any recommendations about your backyard, please don't make any about mine. You urbanites are completely out of touch with our culture and way of life.
EDIT: My post was in response to this: "IMO the Federal govt. owns way too much property in the west. A lot of this property should be returned to the states."
I acknowledge that I don't live in the western states, but I have heard from plenty of friends who own land or travel regularly there with their horses. Part of the issue is hardening of stances due to a more favorable legal landscape for certain types of easements. Scenic easements (ie hiking, fishing, hunting) are generally not granted without long term previous use as noted in the article. However land owners are being assaulted by mandatory revenue related easements for oil and gas projects across the west. For the past decade or so, those types of easements have been pushed through regularly since the Kelo decision. If a mineral lease is sold on public lands the developer is highly likely to win an easement of their choosing - a convenient straight line through private ground on which a temporary road for equipment carried on semi trucks can pass. This activity has greatly increased animosity of land owners to any easements to reach federal lands for any purpose. The last thing these folks want is more case law decided in favor of public access. Keep in mind all it would take is one or two lawsuits going the way of hunters, fisherman, or whoever else to throw the doors open wide. Personally I would love the prospect of reaching many of these areas, but my suspicion is once they become accessible and known a big group of local outdoor enthusiasts would be none too happy with the influx of folks from abroad also using these easements.
Don K's Link
I live in the east and support my brothers in retaining access to public lands in the West. We are not asking for a free-for-all right to trespass on private land. We just want to retain access through commonly used access points to the vast tracts of land that belong to the public.
If one wants to really read the whole story on this it started on a forum off a different site. Lots of information to be had on this....
I don't think you can say you've really experienced western hunting until you've had a conversation with a rancher about what you are doing on their public land. :)
Maybe I haven't read enough but it seems that this access issue happens more frequently with new ownership that comes from a different part of the country where there is little public land and a landscape of "No Trespassing" signs is the norm (Texas). No offense to Texans but private land and pay to hunt is the standard there and may become the standard in the west which I guess is better than being totally locked out.
Too bad that Mr Roosevelt isn't around to weigh in on this issue since we lack real visionary leaders today.
The guys from the east know all to well what too many public roads do to once wilderness areas. They shake their heads and drive west to hunt and escape the public madness. Some of you support the Prairie Foundation, the very people who in time will eliminate roads and create ferret, bison, wolf and prairie dog seclusion.
File a lawsuit against any landowner who cheats, Bowsite will not solve access problems for you. The resident hunter vs landowner hatred cannot get much worse.
Bottom line here is prescriptive easement law clearly states that if access on a road, trail, or other way of access into another neighboring property has been used for several years, you can't take it away. That's what they're referring to and the Forest Service is using as their defense. Now, landowners in MT who live adjacent to Forest Service land want to change Federal law and receive special treatment that other private landowners would not be privy to. Too bad it will likely end up in the courts and I'd bet the landowners will lose. Just another waste of taxpayer dollars to fight greedy Montanans who think the law doesn't apply to them.
Franklin-Why do you think the govt owns to much land in the west and how would State ownership solve this issue? Take a bad fire season such as the one right now. If any one State had to foot the bill and fight those fires without federal aid, it would bankrupt a state in one year. Furthermore, I have been very unimpressed with state owned land. Colorado I’m talking about you. The regulations and fees make it almost totally prohibitive for backcountry hunting.
+1-Lost Arra. Roosevelt was a remarkable man. It is doubtful we will ever have another president that could even stand in his shadow. If he was alive today and saw the assault on public lands by the party he once called his own, he would literally knock Zinke out cold -even as a 159 yo!
It needs to get sorted out, happened many years ago in most of America. Yes, there will be lots of taxpayers dollars spent, and most are not hunters and many do not like hunting or trapping. Will be interesting to say the least.
Maybe the feds could get some better cooperation out of these ranchers by threatening to raise the fees to graze their cattle on our public land's...
First off the Federal Govt. should not OWN or MANAGE any land other than Washington DC. The state should be in control of the property and it`s resources. None of the issues involving ranchers and the Fed. Govt. would of happened if it was between the state and a state resident.
I don`t blame the ranchers...the way they have been SCREWED over by the Feds. I would shut their butts out too. Take some time to really research what went on with the Bundy`s and the Hammond`s and you`ll see why they aren`t very "friendly".
The Bundy case was just declared a "mistrial" as the Fed. Prosecutors withheld critical evidence to the defense attorney`s....Sessions has ordered the DOJ to review the case...meaning they probably won`t retry them. That article makes it sound like Obama or Ovomit as I call him, is your friend. He created this riff.
Do you know how to hang glide?....parachute?
State Land isn't Public Land per se in ANY western state. Your ability to hunt, camp, hike, or otherwise recreate is controlled by a states Land Board (one guy in NM). They can and do limit your ability to access. You don't hunt on State Land in CO unless the CPW has paid to lease the hunting rights. UDWR is currently paying 800K/year to their land board for hunting and the latest renewal numbers I've seen are 1-3 million. Their land board has already floated the idea of turning all the transferred lands into CWMU's. Only residents can apply for hunts in CWMU's, nr need to buy or be given a tag. NMDFG is paying 1 million, negotiated down from 2, and you don't camp on state land. Any NM State land that's been leased has access being controlled by the lessee.
Seems odd that anyone who recreates on Federal land would think it's a good idea to transfer all our National Forests and BLM land to these Land Boards. Selling the land is only one part of what's so disturbing about the transfer movement; land boards will shut us out.
Randy Newberg has a public lands series on his youtube channel, link provided. It's worth the time.
Bundy has nothing to do with this. This has everything to do with keeping the west from looking like the megapolis that is your home state.
For the guys saying the land should go to the states, look at the cost of one fire for just one county, in the state of Colorado. There is no way the states can fund that much land, without federal assistance. There is just no way.
I hunt and have hunted in about twenty states and never is state land as accessible as most federal land. Far more state land is inaccessible compared to federal lands or with more cost and regulations.
If federal lands became state land then the land would fall victim of whatever political parties that ruled the state. Many states are held hostage by urban centers and their philosophy because that’s where most of the people live. When was last time have you heard a politician declare the need for rural renewal. Anytime the government is regulating today normally the small guy is losing. This country was founded on this basic premise and upon establishment of the new government started ever so slowly turning into that which they despised. Most do not want independence and even more do not have a great need of the freedom provided by the constitution. We must be ever vigilant against government overreach and our first thought should be regulated by a certain level of distrust of the establishment.
What we need to do is become informed, involved, and vocal to what happens East and West.
As far as Roosevelt taking Zinke I doubt it.
Shot my first bull there in 1978 or 79 with a Carroll take down and the issues were pretty much the same.Screaming match to get my bull out etc.Who hunts with Eric Trump?Get him out there and get him screamed at on public or blocked from access to public.Suspect things could change.
If there was never a legal easement to begin with the new owner should be able to shut off the trail. Just because People were using PRIVATE land illegally in the past does not make it right in the future. If there is a LEGAL right of way the land owner should obey by that contract until the terms are up. I know a lot of people do not like the fact the there is some federal land landlocked. But that is not the land owners fault and a PRIVATE land owner should not be punished for that. When you take a way land owner rights we are well on our way to a socialistic or communistic government, and we do not want to go there.
Fees Ranchers pay on federal land aren't really that low when you consider the quality of the feed, quality of the land and the added expenses Federal leasees assume that private leasees do not. Comparing leasing private land to federal land is comparing apples to rocks.
I know a lot of people wont like this comment but there is a lot of Federal land not land locked, go hunt or hike and recreate on it.
WYelkhunter is correct.
Affected hunters should hire lawyers and see if the road was ever adopted as a public road, collected a gas tax, and maintained with public tax dollars. If so, the landowner is wrong.
I've dealt with that $h!t show first hand...
Not sure of Montana law but there may well be a 'prescriptive easement' based on years of use even if an actual one doesn't exist.New ownership would not affect that.
First off you have NO IDEA where I have lived or what I own. What do you think your state is going to do with the land...your state will do EXACTLY the same thing the Fed Govt. is doing with it. NOBODY wants to live in these areas to create a city...LMAO....as far as the "fire/disaster" that happens NOW. You can get Federal relief aid even if it`s private property.
The Federal Govt. has created a situation that gives the impression they are against the land owners and ranchers. You would have a FAR better chance if your state owned the property...because your state taxes would be going to the property and you could NOT be shut out. Try that with Washington DC....good luck.
"..because your state taxes would be going to the property and you could NOT be shut out."
Your taxes don't mean chit when it comes to access on State Lands.
Recreational Access to Trust Land
Recreational access to State Trust Land is facilitated through a permit system determined by the specific type of use. Please keep in mind that permission is required to legally access Trust Land. Some activities are Prohibited or restricted on State Trust Land. Travel on trust land is restricted to public highways and established roads; off road activities are not permitted. The disturbance, damaging, or removal or resources is strictly prohibited. Please see the following link for a complete list of prohibited activities. Additional information on the types of access permitted on Trust Land can be found below or by following these links: Hiking; Camping; Hunting; and Educational Access.
Hunting on State Trust Lands
There are approximately 9 million state trust surface acres in New Mexico. In addition to U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, the State Game Commission has purchased an easement on state trust land for fishermen, hunters and trappers to use. Most are open to public hunting and other recreation; there are some lands withdrawn for hunting access. It is the individual’s responsibility to get all pertinent information from each agency and to know the regulations that each agency has on its managed lands. Much of New Mexico’s public land is mixed with privately owned property. The private landowner has the right to control the use of private land. Sportsmen must get written landowner permission to cross private land where no public access exists to get to the public land. It is unlawful to post or otherwise restrict lawful uses of public land.
Franklin, I suspect you need to educate yourself a little on the history of western states and what they have done with their land in the past. In the recent past I thought just like you do, but when you really look into what happened to the land originally granted to the states at their inception you might change your mind. There are a lot of very wealthy individuals who have been lobbying for this land to be turned over to the states for decades. When you look at the millions of acres of state land that have been sold off in the past it scares me to think what would be left for my children if our public lands are ever transferred to the states.
You can always tell when the off-season kicks in....
At the very least, for Eastern-based hunters/recreationalists, join the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers organization, who are in the forefront in this fight.
I know plenty about Western lands and I also know plenty about govt....who do you think you have a better chance to side with you...YOUR state or the Federal Govt....just ask the Bundy`s and the Hammond`s how THEIR fight went with the Federal Govt....and there are 1000`s more with the same story.
You`re on the outside looking in....the Feds made their bed now YOU can lie in it. I think some of you need to understand how this situation works....because I know all too well how it works.
Franklin just has a beef with the Federal Govt and is naive to the outcome of destroying the legacy that Federal public land has given us. I get the beef with Govt - most of us have it. But some things are worth preserving. Handing Federal lands over to the states have shown time and again to have them end up being sold to the highest bidder. When your hunting is your private 200 acres of farm land in the midwest, that world view works. But we're trying to save an ecosystem and a way of life out here.
Franklin the states wouldn’t do better than the feds, as others have already stated the states wouldn’t hesitate to liquidate this land if it is costing them money. The states don’t have the resources to manage more land. As far as your fascination with the Bundys, Follow the law and you won’t end up like him. The guy was clearly in violation of the law and was given due process and couldn’t accept the outcome.
Kinda makes me sick to my stomach.
I don't know the specific facts of the current dispute but obviously the 'prescriptive easement' doctrine I mentioned above is alive and well in Montana.Hopefully it can and will be used effectively.Unlike adverse possession,taxes need NOT have been paid by a claimant. http://www.emwh.org/issues/public%20trust/prescriptive%20easements%20and%20ways%20of%20necessity.pdf
I don't have an answer, but I think it absolutely sucks that I should even have to consider retaining a lawyer just to enjoy the wilderness!
"This land is your land, this land is (also) MY land......."
The fact that you do not have an answer is why you may need a lawyer to help you get a legal opinion, and seek a legal resolution. There is nothing wrong with that.
Its always been that way in Wyoming nothing new here. Go try a diy antelope hunt sometime and see if you get allowed to tresspass. Cant cross at corners either. I bet at least a third of all wyoming public land is landlocked by private. At least here they let you cross.
Idyl, it is the frog in the pot theory. Apathy and ignorance makes slaves of all. I hunt national forest and state land. My favorite spot on state land is already marked to be logged. There is no place that I would rather hunt. I walk an hour to get to the stand. There is no such thing as an easement here and I am sure there probably was initially but over time the land owners probably did the same thing that is occurring out West. Nothing like having a twenty thousand acre ranch with a another forty land locked.
“Freedom is just another word when you have nothing left to lose”
Franklin, which politician do you think is easier to buy off a local state rep or a congressmen in DC? Local politics are full of the same, if not more, problems than national. I don't trust the vast majority of my state reps with things concerning land, hunting, recreation, etc.
State governments will sell the land if deeded to them I believe that! However big business and Federal corruption is a big concern to me!! Zinke is a appointee no pressure on him! Pressure you Senators ans Representatives regardless of where you live!! The infighting about where you live or what rights you have based on what state your are from is exactly what politicians like "Distractions". When I served in the Marine Corps it wasn't just for Missouri or Illinois or Idaho it was for the entire Country I proudly call mine. IMO no ones opinion or right to ownership is greater or lessen based on where you live!! I stay active and call and join organizations fighting to keep it public!! I think Federal over State ownership is better at this point! My .02 cents!! Good hunting to all!1
The bigger problem is States took "State rights" to the extreme. Some of the same laws that created railroad checkerboard, roadways were the same laws that gave us access and right to use. States overstepped their bounds. Local and almost always wealthy/greedy landowner win in local courts, and have for over 100 years. Most of these trails and roads didnt have an easement, and didnt need an easement. Once an established use, generally lonfg ago that was the easement. When was the last time you ran kids off the sidewalk in front of your house, or drivers on the road. I cant run people using the river in front of my place.
Greedy and sometimes those that dont know the law seem to think it is theirs. Ive been charged with trespassing three times in my life. One situation the county attorney was going in front of the state bar because he knew I couldn't be prosecuted. One time I was on federal property,.. the arresting officer had to tell the judge he was wrong. Another time an a joining landowner made a deputy cite me on property I had permission. By noon that day I was offered a job in the sheriffs dept! Every time it was someone creating their own law/ Most of the railroad checkerboard land is a problem. and simular to the Bundy situation the adjoining landowners claim no legal access, thus they gain sole control of fed and state lands ( think Wyomings fence law) We as a people wised up to what miners were doing, In reality it inst any different than what adjacent landowners are doing.
For those that dont know. Sort of simplified. Miners at one time could make improvements mining and the land became theirs. Find a piece of beautiful National Forrest that had a history of mining. Stake a claim, build your improvement ( family home or lodge). keep moving dirt like a road, 'claim" the deed and you now own what was public lands , and since I made the improved road over the old road the road become my road also. The original transportation public land laws were an incredible idea, totally messed up by local landowners. Most dont know this and is true about most "state" lands" they were created by the feds and given to states to run public education. Some states the authority was given to the township,.. who sold the land to build one room school houses, then gone. The feds purpose was for the state to manage the lands for public education. Then states ruined that system too,.. created state hospitals, poor houses, and a health care.
Out west we refer to a statement like mine as a "metaphor" , you might have them in Montana also.
ps: my dad is a retired lawyer.
" I bet at least a third of all wyoming public land is landlocked by private."
NIce try but not even close. I just did a quick search. There are 30,043,512 federal acres in WY. There are only 758,000 acres that is figured to be landlocked. that is about 2.5%
And nobody has been convicted of trespass via corner crossing in my memory. I know counties where it's done as standard procedure because the DA won't prosecute.
There are far more important issues facing hunting than corner crossing.