Kristen Juras against public access


Kristen Juras is the daughter of the Galts. Yes, the same anti-public access Galts who married into the vast land holdings of Wellington Rankin, at the time, one of the largest landowners in Montana.

Kristen Juras family background

Juras wrote on pg. 58 of the Stop the Beach Renourishment law review, "Although the early Montana courts and legislature strongly protected riparian rights (1) by extending riparian ownership to the low-water mark of navigable waters and to the middle of non-navigable waters, and (2) by affirming the riparian owner's right to exclude the public's use of privately-owned stream beds, these rights have progressively eroded. The first erosion was slight (and, in view of Montana's affinity for fishing, caused little controversy) -the adoption in 1933 of the "angler's statute" allowing fishermen to enter onto the banks of navigable rivers between the low- and high-water marks for purposes of fishing. The second erosion was monumental-the expansion of the public trust doctrine to allow public use of both navigable and non-navigable stream beds for recreational use." She's talking about our Stream Access as an erosion!

Interviewed on Northern Broadcastings Voices of Montana in Dec., Juras stated that water rights is going to be huge in the next 15 years.

Juras Oped, "The courts do not have the authority to make any significant changes to existing law – that authority is reserved to the legislature under the Montana constitution. So don’t be fooled by those who are yelling wolf that the public’s right to use waterways for recreation is somehow in jeopardy -- that’s a distraction from the real issues surrounding the upcoming elections for the Montana Supreme Court."

Yes, don't be fooled. Juras also states, "Current law in Montana safeguards the public’s right to use surface waters for recreational purposes while protecting the rights of riparian landowners. And only the legislature (not the courts) can change the current laws. " "Current law" is key here, you can change "current law" through the legislature. Laws can and do change, depending on those voted into the legislature and their agendas. The make up of the courts that interpret law is equally just as important. So while Juras may state the law is settled, I feel she is tipping her hand to an agenda when she qualifies "current law."

Juras interview, “I still believe that the most important place to overturn precedents is through the legislative process. If the legislature is not happy with judicial decision, they can change it as long as what they do is within constitutional bounds... The legislature can go back and change that rule. And ever since that decision came out, legislation has been introduced to change it. Last year, it was 50-50, a tied vote. But that is the legislative process, that is another available process to change opinions citizens are unhappy with...

Having said that, if the legislature doesn’t act, the courts are going to be addressing these issues. And even if the legislature does act, I wouldn’t be surprised, whatever form of exemptions it adopts, if the exemptions are either challenged as too broad or not broad enough. So the courts are going to have a role, but it should start in the legislature because behind the legislature are the people.”

Article: Juras replied she did consider the 1985 stream access law a settled matter, but added that many issues remain at loose ends. For examples, she said the stream bed ownership of non-navigable waterways might be private, and bridge-access policies might depend on whether the bridge is privately or publicly owned.

Sandefur charged that Juras was hinting she was ready to pick away at the stream access laws and showing a bias that was improper on the bench.

What's at stake?

Honesty, our public lands and public access.



Kathryn QannaYahu,, 406-579-7748, Helena, MT

PACs supporting Juras in 2016

Montana Independent Bankers PAC
Allstate Insurance Company PAC
Montana Farm Bureau PAC
Montana Gas & Oil PAC
Contractors PAC
Landowners For Montana PAC
Montana Coal Council Coal PAC
Montana Beer & Wine Distributors Association
Montana Wood Products Assoc PAC
MONCAR Montana Automobile
Dealers PAC
Montana Land Surveyors PAC


















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