“As the governor, I’m not going to allow out-of-state interests to buy up lands and restrict access to public lands and streams.”- Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana
What Governor Schweitzer forgot to mention was that he personally planned to buy up lands and restrict access to lands and streams as opposed to allowing out of state interests to do so. Schweitzer owns 670 acres of land up Mullan Pass- land that in the past was available for hunting and fishing. Shortly after being reelected in 2008, Schweitzer, citing vandalism, placed chains, locks and signs prohibiting access to the land. At least 4 signs grace the property- each reads “No trespassing. Jim Brenden no longer owns this ranch. Please respect my privacy. No hunting, fishing, snowmobiling or 4 wheeling. Do not enter.” Schweitzer said that if asked permission, he will most likely allow hunting, hiking, and snowmobiling although he fails to post a phone number or to otherwise direct parties who are interested in obtaining permission.
The federal stimulus provided $330,000 to upgrade the US Forest Service road providing access to the land. Schweitzer isn’t pleased that the road was improved- he preferred the remote nature of his property. It is good news for those angry with the governor’s signs, gates, and fences, however. Hoodlums wishing to retaliate can more easily poach his elk and throw their litter onto his land- of course neither behavior is advised. My suggestion is to call the Capitol to ask Schweitzer himself.
Want to hunt, snowmobile or picnic? Give ole Bri a call…
Governor Brian D. Schweitzer
Office of the Governor
Montana State Capitol Bldg.
P.O. Box 200801
Helena MT 59620-0801
(406) 444-3111, FAX (406) 444-5529
Perhaps if he doesn’t answer, you could contact his pal Montana Representative Kendall Van Dyk, Montana’s own environmental super hero who single-handedly clarified stream access laws across Montana.