Friday, March 22, 2013

Montana Fly Fishing: 2013 State Legislature Update...

You would have to be hiding under a rock in the middle of the "Bob" to not recognize those in control of our legislature are engaged in all out war against hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists. Under siege is just about every program, every agency does not place oil and gas drilling, commercial development, mining and agricultural interests as top priority in public policy. The list of bills is nothing less than staggering and the negative ramifications to sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts mind boggling. Why, how these greedy bastards continue to get elected in a state where someone in just about every household either hunts, fishes, hikes, camps, whatever, our public lands and waters can only be blamed on one thing--apathy and the idea our rights are somehow inviolate--like me, many take the easy way out, let others do the dirty work as if somehow it'll all work out. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves.

For example, our notorious anti-sportsman, anti-FWP, anti-public access, privatize the crap out of everything and anything, Debbie Barrett recently got her long suffering bill passed which essentially guts FWPs elk management plan. Mandates elk numbers be cut to what ranchers deem is manageable. Here in Beaverhead County the Blacktail Herd currently stands at about 1700 head; under the new policy would be cut by roughly half; the Lima Peaks Herd, 2800 would be cut by about 2/3s--if not automatic 3 week extensions, any elk, any un-punched tag(s) good to go. Essentially taking management out the hand of professionals and into the hands of private ranchers who would like nothing better than to reap the rewards private lands, privatizing public resources. And it goes on and on... 

I've been stewing about these issues for sometime now but what really struck me how apathetic so many of us have become was reading the current "Trout Line" list of donors. I imagine like many my name is not on the list using the excuses already belong, paid my dues, live a semi-indigent life, in other words done my  part let others more well off do theirs. But the thing really struck me is how few names appear of the dozens, hundreds, thousands of us make a living (or at least part of one) flat out because we do have access to a wonderful collection public waters. Great access and fishing of course pads the bottom line for all of us. Thanks in large part  because TU ( and others such as Montana Sportsmen Alliance, Montana Wildlife Federation, The Public Land/Water Association) are up there in Helena stumping every day to guard our interests. 

Suddenly it dawns we've just never given much thought to the idea none of these organizations have hidden agendas to profit, any reason to fight except for the conviction that all this does belong to the folks and when it's gone then what?  Clean air, water and soil without it what's the use, eh?

No comments:

Post a Comment