Forest Service Locks More Montana Gates and Internet Responds
When it comes to the great outdoors here in Montana, I consider myself a "Public Land Owner." That's right, I helped pay to maintain hundreds of millions of acres of land. Unfortunately, I somehow managed to help pay for gates that block access to hundreds of millions of acres of land. But, even though I paid for the gate, I don't get to keep the key. Nope, much of the land that I own is locked up by the "King."
Whenever I come across a locked National Forest Service gate, I always put on my thickest British accent and go on rants about trespassing on "the King's land in search of harvesting the King's deer."
I am not going to sugarcoat it. I am not the kind of guy who enjoys hiking 15 miles into a spot to hunt, fish, or camp. I am also not a fan of "road hunting." But, to close off roads that were built using taxpayer money. And then telling taxpayers they can't use the roads, is dumb. Environmentalists say that "closure in management." This means fewer people using those roads will somehow allow elk to sleep better at night.
Now, before all the people who support locking gates attack me with insults, I understand that some roads need to be closed because of erosion or danger. But, a good majority of roads with locked gates are there for political reasons. Even if they have to make up a silly reason to lock them.
The Helena National Forest Service Office recently posted a picture on social media with a message. The message says that they are locking certain Forest Service gates in the Lewis and Clark National Forest. But, says they cannot unlock them due to weather.
Our districts will be closing a few gates for the season in accordance with our travel management plans. A few of our districts do not have enough snow to open gates for groomers/snowmobilers. Those gates will open once adequate snowfall occurs.
The Internet public land advocates came out in FULL FORCE after this post went viral. The comments section of the Lewis and Clark Forest Service post exploded with people who feel the same that I do about blocking access to public land.
Every year I notice more and more closures to motorized access on public land. What bothers me is the seasonal restrictions. Environmentalists say that motorized vehicles are scaring the countryside. But multi-million dollar cattle operations can absolutely destroy acres upon acres. Some of my favorite trails are now closed from October to December. Meaning "flower sniffers" can tear up the countryside during the sloppiest time of Spring, but an elk hunter cannot in the Fall.
I guess I better bet back to practicing my terrible British accent for my next encounter with a gate on the "King's Land."
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