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#272951
http://www.petitiononline.com/MTAccess/petition.html


Here's the short of it: Huey Lewis is a monstrous douche. For some reason FWP is considering a petition that he filed to close access and duck hunting on portions of Mitchell Slough. Now, you may not give a shit about duck hunting on public water but this kind of ridiculous thing sets precedent for every Huey-like douche in the state to petition to have public land or water next to their property closed to recreation. I ask you all to please sign this petition, it takes about 15 seconds.
#272959
Done. Thanks for posting the link.

So landowners are actually baiting their land to prevent others from legally hunting waterfowl in the area? What a bunch of douchnozzles.
#272964
Thanks. Yes, in an effort to keep the public from legally hunting near his property, Huey Lewis has set up feeders for the ducks making it so that any hunter would be "hunting over bait" which is illegal. What he is doing is illegal by state law- feeding wildlife, but is trumped by some federal law I believe. Either way, this is just another assault on our high water mark rights by the wealthy out of staters. Thanks for signing it.
#272971
Done.
Tug of War Is On in Montana Over Public Access to Waterway

By JIM ROBBINS
Published: July 26, 2006, The New York Times

VICTOR, Mont. — Mitchell Slough is a slice of Montana heaven, a meandering 13-mile-long waterway that purls gently past houses and ranches, with the black backs of large, darting trout visible beneath the crystal-clear surface.

There are some two dozen landowners along the waterway, including the rock musician Huey Lewis and a Las Vegas contractor who built a dazzling home with a glass floor over a branch of the slough.

Now lawyers for Mr. Lewis and the other landowners are before the Montana Supreme Court arguing that the waterway is no more than a man-made ditch. The case turns on a state law that mandates public access to natural waterways through public land, something Mr. Lewis and the others insist should not apply to Mitchell Slough.
For the property owners, the story of the slough would not be titled “A River Runs Through It,” but “An Irrigation Ditch Runs Through It.”

“Definitely it is a ditch, because it’s diverted water for irrigation,” Mr. Lewis said by phone from New York, where he was on tour. “If you watch the water levels go up and down, you know it’s a ditch.”

A state district judge agreed in May that while Mitchell Slough was once part of the nearby Bitterroot River, it had been transformed by the hand of man, by changes including numerous head gates that control flows, and so was exempt from the Montana stream access law.

But an organization called the Bitterroot River Protective Association and the State of Montana appealed the decision to the Montana Supreme Court on July 12, arguing that the waterway belonged to everyone despite the no-trespassing signs and the wire fences crossing it. Lawyers for the state expect a decision within a year.

“There’s fabulous wealth on this 13 miles of stream, and they want to call it an irrigation ditch,” said Michael Howell, a founder of the association and the publisher of The Bitterroot Star, a weekly newspaper.

As an increasing number of wealthy people move to Montana, the debate over public access to waterways has intensified. Some newcomers do not know or care that Montana has a law that guarantees public access and have fenced off rivers or chased people away from them.

On the Ruby River in the southwestern part of the state, James C. Kennedy, the chairman of Cox Enterprises in Atlanta, fenced the public out of the river. Last year, 200 angry fishermen held a “fish-in” and took a flotilla of boats through the billionaire’s property in protest.

Some residents did the same on Mitchell Slough several years ago, informing the local authorities that they were going to ignore no-trespassing signs, climb the fences and walk along the right of way allowed under the access law. As a game warden watched, the protest went ahead. No arrests were made.
Gov. Brian Schweitzer, an irrigator and an expert on water use, has visited the slough and has sided with those demanding public access.

“This decision had to be appealed because it affects streams, creeks and sloughs all over Montana,” Mr. Schweitzer, a Democrat, said. “It’s a natural body of water, and by my reading of the stream access law it should be open to the public to fish and recreate.”

He said 15 cubic feet per second of water entered the slough through irrigation gates and 300 cubic feet per second exited, proof that it was fed by springs and groundwater and more natural than not.
The long-running controversy began in 1991, when two brothers, Randy and Robert Rose, who some view as the Rosa Parks of the fly-fishing set, defied the landowners’ restrictions and went fishing on the slough. They were arrested for trespassing but were found not guilty by a jury in the court of Justice of the Peace Ed Sperry. Now retired, Mr. Sperry has joined the Bitterroot association, as have several other community leaders, including Jim Shockley, a Republican state senator.

“My family has been here for a hundred years, and no one except these rich out-of-state landowners thought of it as anything but a part of the Bitterroot,” Mr. Shockley said of the slough.

Mr. Lewis said the Bitterroot group had “done a masterful job of casting this as a class-warfare issue,” a characterization he disputed.

“ ‘Rich out-of-staters’ is an expletive, and they try to make it a battle against them and rich out-of-staters,” he said. “There are 25 people, and 20 are not rich and not out of state.”

Mr. Lewis said he loved his home here — “more cheese, fewer rats” than in California, he said — and was now a year-round resident.

In addition to Mr. Lewis, prominent property owners along the slough include Anthony Marnell II, of Marnell Corrao Associates, a casino construction company that built the Mirage, the Excalibur and other Las Vegas casinos; Charles R. Schwab, of the discount stock brokerage; and Kenneth F. Siebel, managing director of Private Wealth Partners.
There are also less glitzy owners opposed to public access, including Ed and Judy Hebner, a retired couple who moved here 18 years ago.

“It would be a tremendous loss of privacy and we’d have people in that every day,” Mr. Hebner said, pointing to a section of the slough just outside his living room window.

Mr. Hebner and Mr. Lewis said they often allowed people to fish on the slough, but they wanted to continue to have some say in who used it. Mr. Lewis and other landowners have spent money to improve the fish habitat, digging out deep holes and stabilizing banks. Fishermen tromping through the area could cause damage, they said.
But Governor Schweitzer said the state was deeply committed to defending the river access law.

“If you want to buy a big ranch and you want to have a river and you want privacy,” he said, “don’t buy in Montana. The rivers belong to the people of Montana.”

Correction: August 8, 2006:

An article on July 26 about a legal dispute over public access to a waterway in western Montana referred imprecisely to the state law on which the case turns. Although the law allows public access to natural waterways, it specifies that the access be through public land
.
#272976
Flex,

What confuses me is how this seems to conflict with fed. rulings on the rights of a navigatible waterway. There have been a ton of like rulings handed down in the south over the last decade or so, and rarely has the court ruled in favor of the landowners. Generally if the waterway has been historically been used by the public for commerce AND/OR recreation via boat the state has NO RIGHT to deny the continuance of that use. The state can however deny walk in access if it requires crossing private ground above the "normal high water mark." In other words, if it's historically been used by the public, it's within the normal high water mark, and you can gain access via boat federal courts have almost always driven a spike up the ass of local and state court opinions. It's entirely possible I'm missing something as I'm sure folks out there have investigated that avenue.

Also, while federal law doesn't necessarily prevent someone from feeding waterfowl, state law can differ as long as it is more restrictive. In other words, if Montana law says that it's illegal to feed waterfowl in Montana the feds can and will enforce the state law. Most feds that I know would love to fuck a rich guys day by writing them the biggest ticket they can dream up, and that's especially true if the state folks are letting them get away with something.

By the way, fuck Huey...petition signed.
#272978
What a colossal pieces of shit that Lewis, Schwab and others are. Why can't we petition to kick their asses out of Montana? Seize their property for the benefit of the state and it's residents. It's obvious they will never stop until they have complete control over our water. Fuckers!
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