Trout fanciers remember that earlier this year Trout Unlimited (TU) had a little “dust up,” as described by Montana Trout Unlimited Executive Director Bruce Farling. Inside the organization, a few people questioned TU’s involvement in stream access issues and wondered if the group should stay out of them in favor of devoting resources to preserve coldwater fisheries.
The thought of avoiding stream access issues managed to get a lot of members major league excited. They wanted TU involved in conservation and fisheries management issues, of course, but not at the expense of access issues.
Well rest easy, flycasters, TU has recently re-affirmed its strong support for future involvement in stream access issues
“We’ve largely resolved this access flap,” assures Farling in an interview with NewWest.Net, “and we’re back we started.”
At a September meeting in Boise, TU’s Board of Trustees and the National Leadership Council, composed of one member from each state chapter, strongly supported the 2006 policy. In fact, the leadership council voted 29-1 (with New York dissenting) on a resolution brought to the table by Montana Trout Unlimited that re-affirmed the 2006 policy allowing state chapters to intervene in access disputes such as the recent controversy over bridge access points to streams in Montana.
Last winter, the TU Board of Trustees had decided to review the 2006 policy and consider prohibiting state chapters from entering stream access disputes, but they got the message loud and clear that members wanted the organization working on access, despite claims that the membership was “deeply divided” on the issue.
“Having TU involved in access disputes is actually wildly popular within our organization,” countered Farling. “Basically, we went through this, unnecessary, unproductive, gut-wrenching exercise that we didn’t need to do, and now we are back at square one.”
Farling said that the Boise resolution makes it gin-clear that “without equivocation defending stream access is something the public can expect TU to be involved in.”
You can view policy and resolution here.