'I don't trust' Gianforte's instincts, former FWP supervisor says of candidate's lawsuit
ICYMI: FWP supervisor calls out Gianforte's excuse for suing to block river access
The former Fish, Wildlife and Parks supervisor in charge of protecting stream access in southwestern Montana is calling out New Jersey multimillionaire Greg Gianforte's excuse for suing to eliminate a popular popular public access easement.
Pat Flowers, who served as Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) Region 3 Supervisor and is now retired, told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that Gianforte’s public access lawsuit was one of only two challenges to Montana’s stream access laws that he experienced during his time with FWP.
In his letter to the editor, Flowers stated, “Greg Gianforte’s instinct was to legally challenge the public’s right to access the Gallatin River. I don’t trust those instincts to defend our precious stream access rights as the governor of Montana.”
One year after Flowers was hired as FWP Region 3 Supervisor in 1999, Steve Bullock defended Montanans stream access rights in front of the Montana Federal District Court.
Read Pat Flowers' full Letter to the Editor here:
Bozeman Daily Chronicle // Pat Flowers, Retired, Former FWP Region 3 Supervisor
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) manage over 90 fishing access sites in Southwestern Montana, and most are surrounded by private land. There are surprisingly few conflicts between the public using the access sites and nearby private landowners. This outcome is a credit to the public users and private landowners.
In recent history I am aware of only two circumstances where conflict between private landowners and public access to our streams in southwestern Montana resulted in legal action by the landowner. One involved James Cox Kennedy’s challenges to our state’s stream access law on the Ruby River, and the other was Greg Gianforte’s challenge to a public right-of-way easement held by FWP on his property. Both landowners have the right to take legal action, but in so doing they reflected their attitude towards the public’s legal use of our streams and rivers and associated access.
Those attitudes become a larger problem when one of them is running to become our governor. Greg Gianforte’s instinct was to legally challenge the public’s right to access the Gallatin River. I don’t trust those instincts to defend our precious stream access rights as the governor of Montana.