Even if you are not from Montana, you need to read this, the applications go beyond our state borders.
For over a year, Rick Berman and Will Coggin (D.C. special interest lobbyists) have been attacking grassroots hunting & angling groups, especially Montanans, labeling them "green decoys". During the 2016 election, I found Montana Supreme Court candidate, Kristen Juras' paper against the public trust doctrine and Montana's Stream Access; PERC (Property and Environment Research Center) put out an oped attacking the Public Trust Doctrine and Montana grassroots hunting & angling groups. During the 2017 Legislative session, a number of legislators attacked the Public Trust Doctrine, equating it with "a taking", making it sound like a dirty word; Coggin began emailing our legislators attacking the local hunters and anglers that defend our public trust; and certain special interest legislators publicly attacked the grassroots groups attempting to brand them with the slanderous "green decoy" label. Enough was enough. I had to make time to refute all the bullshit.
Despite Juras' belief that Stream Access is a monumental erosion of private property; despite Sen. Jennifer Fielder's "fears" and lack of understanding; the Public Trust Doctrine is not new, it predates our US and Montana Constitutions, and is already in our Montana Constitution. Building on documentation I had been accumulating, I have spent the last couple months on this refutation, to arm the public with the truth about the foundation of the public trust doctrine and our stream access - to change the conversation.
Utilizing my pre-conservation research background, I have woven together this refutation history with endnotes for veracity. Additionally, I set up a webpage to house every piece of documentation involved in PDF for verifying, reading and downloading, including Supreme Court cases and Montana bills that go back to the 1800's.
The history provided illustrates not only the older Public Trust Doctrine foundation, but also examines the present attacks, especially in Montana, by out-of-state dark money interests and local efforts to undermine the Public Trust Doctrine itself, as well as the grassroots hunting/angling conservationists that have long defended the public trust.
To ensure our Montana Stream Access is here to stay, we need to educate and equip ourselves with the Public Trust Doctrine, defending it against private, legislative and judicial attacks; diligently and tirelessly challenge each access violation, in order to preserve our world-class, “Best in the West”, Montana Stream Access, for future generations.
The Public Trust Doctrine & Montana's Stream Access is brought to you for free and is open access for non-commercial use. You may download, view, copy and print and distribute this document as a whole. If you would like to contribute towards the many hours of research and compilation, it would be greatly appreciated, but this is first and foremost a labor of conservation love, to assist in Putting the "Public" Back In "Public Trust".
Click on Cover for the Public Trust Doctrine &Montana's Stream Access report and documentation webpage.