Montana has some of the highest quality outdoor resources in the nation in addition to the longest hunting seasons in the West. However, wildlife managers often face pressure to manage game animals and recreation for private profit. Too often the public’s access is closed off by people who illegally block public roads and stream access points. This directly conflicts with the nature and mission of public lands and the public trust doctrine of wildlife. MWF fights to protect public access and recreational opportunities for everyone, not just special interests.
KEEPING PUBLIC ROADS OPEN TO PUBLIC LANDS
Montana hunters, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts depend on public roads to legally access public land and streams. Unfortunately, cases of public lands and stream access points being closed off by private interests occur all too frequently. MWF works to locate these access points and work with officials to reopen these areas so that Montanans can legally access our lands and waters.
PROTECTING PUBLIC OWNERSHIP OF WILDLIFE
The public trust doctrine of wildlife management in North America states that wildlife is property of the people of the United States, to be held, in trust, by state governments for the benefit of the resources themselves and the public. That doctrine is a core tenet of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and an essential part of what makes Montana such a great place to live and recreate in. MWF works to prevent special interests from taking ownership of wildlife away from the public while defending the authority of wildlife managers to rely on sound science and not private profits.
SUPPORTING ACCESS INCENTIVES FOR PRIVATE LANDOWNERS
The great public lands that Montanans hold in high regard make up only about one-third of our state’s land base. Private land still makes up the largest portion of our state and therefore holds the utmost importance for wildlife management. Additionally, private lands have some of the best hunting and fishing in the state. MWF supports programs, such as Black Management, that give financial assistance to landowners who provide public access and manage for wildlife habitat.