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Corner Crossing Rally -

BLL GOES DOWN

Associated Press - 2/19/2013


HELENA – The Montana House on Monday rejected a plan that aimed to give hunters and others access at “corner crossings” to public land that is intermingled with private land in a checkerboard pattern.

Hunters and advocacy groups packed the chamber in support of the measure, seeking access to patches of government land that meet at corners. Supporters of House Bill 235 said denying access at such corners ensures that mega-land owners like Ted Turner can lock up blocks of public land.

“This law would no longer criminalize a Montana sportsman from jumping from one corner of public land to another corner of public land,” said Rep. Ellie Hill, D-Missoula. “We are talking about hopscotch folks, leaping from one corner of public property without touching any private land.”

Hill said the measure would ensure access to more than 800,000 acres of landlocked public parcels.

Backers, led by Democrats, were trying to get the measure out of a committee where it had been tabled. Republicans used their majority in the chamber to easily defeat that motion. It only received 45 votes, instead of support from 60 out of 100 in the chamber needed to meet a procedural threshold.

Republican critics argued there is no way to cross at the corners without trespassing, even if a person knows exactly where the property lines intersect. They argued a person’s hips and shoulders would cross the airspace at the intersection of the four corners while hopping between parcels.

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Public Land/Water Access Association Inc. or PLWA, is a citizen group organized and operated under the Montana nonprofit corporation act.

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Articles and Information on this site represent the opinion of the writer and are not intended as legal advice. Legal counsel may be needed in dealing with specific access situations and issues.
     
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