the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"
this 'Broken Window Theory' is evident
in the growing illegal taking of our public access
by private interests. "
This issue is a wee bit different.
I am focusing on Montana Public Lands/Public Access as a whole,
rather than the parts. As you can see from some of the LTEs, even
from Wyoming, this is on the brains of many. Months ago, as touched
on in the video, I had a number of people reach out to me to look
into a number of known illegal access situations. As some heard
that I was setting up the project, some people volunteered to join
on the onsite documentation trips. Finally, I got the video finished
and things are seriously gaining momentum here. In a few days I
am documenting 3-4 sites. This doesnt just happen by itself, so
please consider contributing to "Unlocking
Montana's Future Public Access".
The "Broken Windows Theory"
comes from the metaphor used to describe this concept: That if a
window is broken and left unrepaired, then people walking by will
assume that no one cares, no one is in charge. It sends a signal
to others encouraging anti-social behavior, vandalism, greater crime.
This theory states that the little things matter.
In Montana this "Broken Window Theory" is evident in the growing
illegal takings of our public access by private interests.
When one private landowner illegally blocks off a public access
road or public lands/waters, placing fences, gates, locks and NO
TRESPASSING signs, and gets away with it, it sends a signal to others
that "no one cares", you can steal the Public's Access, with no
penalties for Trespassing against the Public Trust.
Some programs and groups are working on acquiring new access, which
is awesome. But this is access that we already have.
As I see it, the only way to combat this privatizing epidemic is
to show you care!
Repair the trespass damage by actively taking back our stolen Public
Send the message that we are watching, we are documenting and we
will take action - We have Public Property Rights!
With nearly 2 million acres of public lands inaccessible
in Montana (more than any other western state), don't you think
it's time to do something more about it, something radical to take
back what has been illegally stolen, turn the tide?
It is time to systematically restore our Public Access for Future
Generations! - Kathryn
Click on video link for Project page and Video.
Trust For Youth
I had the honor of being invited to our Bozeman Boys and Girls Club
to speak about the Public Trust Doctrine (Thanks Bill Mealer for
setting it up) to about 35-45 kids. Pretty heady subject for the
youth, but a necessary one. So I introduced myself as Kathryn the
Conqueror (William the Conqueror who descended from Viking invaders
conquered, set up the forests for private use and created the privatized
Forest Laws, and the "King's Deer".). Then I began to steal from
the kids - headbands, hoodies, etc., and keep it for myself. Of
course they objected, but I told them I was the king and could do
what I pleased and make the laws the way I wanted, how did that
make them feel? None too happy. I told them the US was different
from William the Conqueror's Europe, we had a Public Trust Doctrine.
I then related that the headband was our public wildlife, the hoodie
our public lands and the bandana our public waters and there were
special interests that are trying and were doing just what "Kathryn
the Conqueror" did - steal our Public Trust from them. This is of
course very abbreviated.
I had large photos of our youth recreating on our Public Lands (Thanks
Spartas of DSPhoto for some of the pictures). This
reinforced how valuable these lands are to them and why they needed
to keep those lands for future generations.
Periodically, I would ask them whose lands, or waters or wildlife
it was and by the end, they were all getting it and yelling, "Its
ours/mine/your public lands." Are you going to let the "Viking raiders"
steal it from you? "No, we're going to protect it." At one point
when I asked the kids what else they could do on our Public Lands
than the recreation images I had shown, one of the young boys blessed
me so much, he answered, "Clean up our public lands, like picking
up litter." Kids rock. They gave me the thank you card below, but
I feel I was the recipient. Their energy and enthusiasm was encouraging
for our Public Trust Future. You never know the seeds you plant.
Public land suffering from
greed of landowners, outfitters by John Gibson
"Terry Anderson's opinion piece claiming there is too much access
to public land and water is no more than another attack on the public
trust resources of our state. He would have us believe that all
of Montana's public land, wildlife and fish would be better off
if they were managed by private owners... What they are suffering
from is the greed of landowners and outfitters who profit from keeping
the public from accessing public land."
The distinction between physical
and legal access to land by Don Thomas
"What concerns Montana's outdoor community today isn't physical
access but loss of legal access — the right to reach land we already
own using existing rights-of-way without facing the draconian trespass
penalties enacted in the last session of the Montana Legislature.
No one is asking that this access be sufficiently convenient to
invite overcrowding, or that it allow motorized transport to disrupt
the backcountry experience. We'd just like to be able to reach the
boundary of our public land without being harassed or going to jail.
The ability to access one's property is considered a right. But
why should a different standard apply to public land? Let's be clear
— Montana's Forest Service, BLM, and NWR lands are not the property
of some distant, alien 'government.' They belong to "we the people,"
the taxpaying citizens of the United States, who should be able
to access their land for the same reasons private landowners should
be able to access theirs."
Daines for special interests,
not Montana by Stan Fraiser
"It is becoming obvious that Senator Daines just doesn’t get that
Montana’s outdoors is a cornerstone of our way of life and a major
economic driver. Outdoor recreation in Montana generates $5.8 billion
in consumer spending, 64,000 jobs, and $1.5 billion in wages and
salaries. Hunting and fishing alone accounts for almost $1 billion
It only makes sense that we should invest in our incredible outdoor
Tester, Daines Back Increases For
Land And Water Conservation Fund
"A powerful Senate committee Thursday increased funding for a public
lands access program, but Montana's senators disagreed on the amount.
Democrat Jon Tester tried to secure more money for the fund today
in a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing. But his amendment
to allocate $400 million was defeated on a party line vote. Tester
says the Land and Water Conservation Fund should ultimately be fully
funded, at the $900 million level originally passed by Congress.
The fund is set to expire at the end of September unless it's re-authorized
Public lands are distinctly
"While I despise an overbearing federal government, the key word
being overlooked here is 'public.' What’s at stake is beyond you
and me and the interests of today. The concept of public land is
distinctly American, a direct result of our forebears living in
places where a person could be punished or even killed for entering
the 'king’s forest' or hunting the 'king’s deer.' Public lands provide
places where anyone may relish precious stillness, scenery and bounties."
If you would like to further this work and research,
please click to contribute