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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

Trout Unlimited to Keep Fighting for Stream Access

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.

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Comments

  1. Craig Moore says:

    Looks like TU is ‘angling’ for membership. The proof will be in what they do, not just loving stream access to death with warm fuzzies. What are TU’s specific goals for western states? What legislation and regulation will they support to achieve those goals? What stream access fights will TU champion for the next couple of years for the average fisherman of modest means?

  2. sweed7 says:

    Craig, well at least fly fishermen do not shoot horses, cattle and sheep. Garbage can be picked up!

  3. Flyfishdude says:

    I too am skeptical in regards to TU’s intentions as Craig mentions. As an avid flyfisherman of modest means yet not a member of TU, it will be interesting to see which direction they take. I will allow that this seems to be at least a baby step in the right direction….

  4. Ed C says:

    I can’t speak for national TU, but I was there when Montana TU stood up (I believe it was Burce Farling) in the Montana Senate and supported SB 78, which was Lane Larsen’s bill to clarify stream access from public bridges. Montana TU does a good job…National TU just gets influenced by folks back east that want their own little private piece of Montana to fish.

  5. J.E. says:

    I am from Montana and am not a TU member. That being said, TU did a great job of drawing attention to this issue. Stream access is one of those issues that quietly rears its head and the landowner/lawyer already has his momentum built before the story breaks and us citizens are busy making a living and don’t have the time or the ability to orginize quickly and make a case for shared resources. Thank god for TU and the other orginizations that help alert us of these issues and help to maintain reasonably access to Montana’s natural resources.
    I currently carry annual licences in MT, WY and S.D. I can tell you I sure wish the citizens of WY and the rest of the US had the rights that us MT folks have.