Landowners question agency integrity in public land access efforts


marc-and-debbie-hathaway2The Crazy Mountain Stockgrowers Association is a non-profit, grassroots membership organization in Sweet Grass County, Montana that works on behalf of our cattle ranching families. We’re deeply committed to caring for the land, livestock and rural lifestyle that makes Montana a great place for all of us. We’re also school board members, volunteer firefighters, community business owners, sportsman, cowboys, professionals, volunteers, recreationists and parents to the next generation of Montanans who love this land.

We’re firmly rooted and committed to the future of our rural communities and these beautiful landscapes. Because of that, we are very concerned with some of the tactics the US Forest Service is currently promoting to increase access to public land in the Crazy Mountains. If the Forest Service feels they have claim to a public easement, and the public is being denied that access, then we encourage the USFS to go through proper legal channels to settle that claim.

If an easement is proven to exist, we encourage our members to respect and honor that easement. However, if an easement does not exist or is not proven in court, we firmly support the choice of a landowner in exercising his or her private property rights.

We find it disappointing that the USFS, in order to gain more access, is encouraging its employees and the public to compromise their own integrity by trespassing on private property. This only further divides the non-landowner and landowner citizens the Forest Service is supposed to be serving. Furthermore, this has the prospect of leading to hostile encounters between landowners and the public and is contrary to prior Agency advice, as well as the Montana Access Guide.

The clashing of personalities and strife between public land users, government agencies, and private landowners jeopardizes the future of our state and communities. CMSGA believes that being respectful, courteous and law-abiding is imperative when dealing with these issues. We encourage the US Forest Service to adopt the same approach.

— The Crazy Mountain Stockgrowers Board of Directors 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s