Hunter action urged in land access issues.

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Hunter action urged in land access issues.

Associated Press

1/8/02

SHERIDAN (AP) — Unless sportsmen become more active in guiding public lands decisions, they can expect less access to those lands over the next 10 years, Wyoming legislators said.

“You are going to lose it unless you get involved,” Sen. Tom Kinnison, R-Sheridan, told about 175 people who gathered to raise money to keep open a popular trail across private property west of Sheridan.

Rep. Dick Sadler, D-Casper, and Rep. Gerald Gay, R-Casper, two of the Legislature’s top public lands activists, said they are growing weary of seeing ranchers receive more taxpayer subsidies while trying to deny the public access to public lands.

“This is going to change,” Gay said at Saturday’s meeting. “I think your fight is right and I wish you the best of luck.”

The two are working to drum up support for bills that would allow overnight camping on state lands and prohibit landowners from posting property as private if it provides access to public lands.

John Gibson, of Billings, president of the Montana Wildlife Federation, urged sportsmen to grill political candidates to determine their stances on public access issues.

“Just don’t listen to happy talk. Pin these people down,” he said.

Kinnison told the sportsmen that if they aren’t pleased with how politicians have represented them, they should work hard to sway the vote in the next election.
 
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