Monday, April 21, 2014

EVENT SET TO CELEBRATE STREAM ACCESS VICTORY FOR MONTANANS

Below is an alert we recieved from our friends at the Montana Wildlife Federation. Hellgate Hunters & Anglers is a proud affiliate of MWF, along with our partner organizations, Public Land & Water Access Association, who fights valiantly every day to ensure our right to access public land and water is never infringed. We are proud to be associated with such great advocates and stewards of our land & wildlife!

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A celebration of the recent Montana Supreme Court decision that upheld public access to the Ruby River at the Seyler Lane Bridge near Twin Bridges will be held 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at Missouri Headwaters State Park near Three Forks.

The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. The celebration is sponsored by several local and state conservation organizations.

The recent Montana Supreme Court ruling settled the issue of stream access at bridges throughout Montana. Seyler Lane is a prescriptive right-of-way that crosses private land owned by billionaire James Cox Kennedy, who has tried to block public access to the Ruby River for two decades.

The ruling also reaffirmed Montana's Stream Access Law and reinforced Montana's hard-won 2009 Bridge Access Law, which upheld the public road right-of-way as the full width of the road and over the bridge to a stream's high-water mark. The lawsuit that led to the Supreme Court ruling was filed against Madison County in 2004 by the Public Land/Water Access Association (PLWA).

"The Montana Supreme Court once again ruled that Montana's streams are not for sale," said Tony Schoonen, a founding member of the Montana Coalition for Stream Access, which filed the suit in the late 1970s that led to the passage of Montana's Stream Access Law. Since then Schoonen has been in the forefront in the fight for stream access inMontana and serves on the board of PLWA.

"We thought we should have a party to celebrate this victory that impacts so many Montanans and their ability to use our rivers and streams," Schoonen said.

The event is being sponsored by PLWA, the Montana Wildlife Federation, George Grant and Madison-Gallatin chapters of Trout Unlimited, Skyline Sportsmen in Butte and the Anaconda Sportsmen.

For more information, please contact event organizer Rich Day at 490-3902 or Nick Gevock, MWF Conservation Director, at 533-9432. 

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