A source who is on the front lines of the stream access fight in Colorado, writes to tell us that Trout Unlimited board member Bob Tueful has withdrawn the resolution to prohibit TU's participation in disputes with private land owners over access to public waters. From his email:
"Bob Teufel offered to withdraw draft Resolution #1, dated March 9, 2007, that he had co-authored with Ted Roosevelt, regarding prohibiting TU involvement in disputes that pitted TU against private landowners. After extensive discussions with TU leaders from around the nation, and after learning of the opposition of the NLC to it, he decided that withdrawing the draft resolution was in the best interests of TU. In its place he offered a substitute proposal which puts the matter to some degree back in the hands of the National Leadership Council. However this issue is not settled and will continue to cause difficulty…..the heat on the Board of Trustees got intense! "
This is good news for anglers who must have found it absurd that their own conservation organization was not going to go to bat for their ability to fish some of the very waters they have worked to conserve. The very fact that this has been considered could lead some to believe that TU's future efforts might be less than enthusiastic.
You might want to take a look at the text of this letter from TU President and CEO, Charles F. Gauvin to members of the National Leadership Council. The letter attempts to explain the TU Board's support of the access amendment. It also provides some insight into an organization trying to maintain relationships with both rank and file members as well as wealthy and often philanthropic landowners.
As our source put it, this issue is not settled and continues to be tested in the courts. The Billings Gazette reports that Atlanta media mogul James Kennedy is bringing a suit that challenges Montana residents right to reach their state's waters even via public roads and bridges.
Tom Chandler from The Trout Underground weighs in on the issue as well.