Lawyers Try to Scuttle Montana Stream Access Law

Unless the lawyers, wealthy landowners, and Montana Stockgrowers Association can exploit a highly specific loophole in its wording, House Bill 190, which settles years of years of wrangling over stream access, could be passed by Montana legislature and satisfy almost all of the interested parties. “Six years of legal and legislative efforts to define how the public can walk from public bridges to public waters to float or fish snagged here Tuesday on something most Montanans have never heard of: prescriptive road easements.” Seems James Cox Kennedy, “a billionaire absentee landowner” on the Ruby, has latched onto one final hope: that an easement is not really an easement when it comes to his river. Jennifer McKee on Helenair.com.

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  • Ryan

    I say kennedy and others in the lawsuit should be lined up and shot!! To think they can just shut the water down to the public is BS. If they end up with any type of win in this, it could open the door to more lawsuits and loss of public land.

  • Lee Gustafson

    The news accounts of this bill do not mention the Public Land / Water Access Asslociation who have been the litigants against Kennedy and Madison county for allowing the bridge closures. Without the lawsuit the legislation would have never gotten this far. (The ruling in the suit said that road right of way at bridges did not bottleneck as Kennedy and his lawyers contended. ) Check out plwa.org for more information and how you can help with their grass roots effort.

  • mot

    HB190 was a consensus bill, crafted over a 16 month period with input from many groups, including the Stockman’s Association(read wealthy a**holes), who then tried to derail it at a public hearing. it was a plain and simple double-cross. HB20 has been proposed as an alternate by a lapdog legislator and it essentially gives the landowners carte blanche over the existing law by using county commissioners to interpret the law. imagine 52 interpretations of the law because that’s how many county commissions would then have “jurisdiction.”