Wednesday, May 10, 2006
The Heart of Rock Says Stay Off My Land
Montana has some of the most liberal (read good) stream access laws of any state in the US. However, a judge their has sided with wealthy land owners and ruled that an irrigation ditch is not a natural waterway and therefore not subject to these laws.
"In the Mitchell Slough case, many emphatically believe the 12-mile waterway is a natural channel, manipulated for more than 150 years by irrigators and now owned by wealthy landowners - including rocker Huey Lewis and investment mogul Charles Schwab - who believe it's always been a private fishery. They and others believe it is simply a big ditch, used to convey water to farmland and carry run-off from those fields back to the river. This side maintains the slough has been private and public access was only granted with permission, though many trespassed."