Put a Fork in Him: Gianforte Sued to Block Public Access to River

by Cowgirl

A little known fact was brought to my attention today, one that will make it nearly impossible for Greg Gianforte to become governor. In 2009, Greg and Susan Gianforte sued the Montana department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, seeking to get rid of a fishing access point that residents of Bozeman had used for almost 40 years to go fishing on the East Gallatin River.

The easement was little more than a dirt route that led from a county road to the bank of the river. This access route had been used regularly enough since the 1970s so that in 1993 the public acquired a legal right to use the pathway. The spur led not only to the river but to an entire riparian area of 75 public acres, protected by FWP for the enjoyment and general use of all citizens. But the easement also ran over the far end of the Gianfortes’s property, and so after purchasing several lots totaling over 105 acres along the river just outside of town, and with a nice house very close to the water, the Gianfortes decided they no longer wanted to have Montanans crossing their property on the way to go fishing on public land. They viewed it as a trespass. And so like many wealthy landowners in Montana in the last several decades, they went to court to block the access. Contrast this behavior with Steve Bullock, who has fought to protect access to streams, and precisely these types of access points, as both attorney general and governor.

The suit was filed (sneakily) by a company called “East Gallatin LLC,” whose registered agent is listed as Susan Gianforte and whose address is listed as the family’s home. And if this meal is not tasty enough for you, there’s dessert: Art Wittich was the attorney that the Gianfortes hired to bring the lawsuit. Wittich now has an attorney of his own, defending him from being evicted from office. Why someone with $400 million would hire Art Wittich to represent him when he could get anyone in the world is an interesting question.

Like other things from Greg Gianforte’s past, this episode will do him no favors in the gubernatorial race. In fact, I believe this is a story that no Montana candidate, especially a first-timer who is just now being introduced to voters, can survive. It plays directly into the narrative that Gianforte’s campaign doesn’t want to unfold: that Gianforte is a wealthy person from elsewhere, who moved to Montana to build a trophy home and fence off public land. And it’s made even worse by the fact that he tried to hide behind a corporate veil when he filed the suit, to shield his identity and had his wife file as agent. (Recall when Rehberg filed a lawsuit against the firefighters and tried to blame  his wife for filing the lawsuit, and later dropped the suit after it became a major campaign issue.) Gianforte will now be hobbled by this foolish greediness, which calls into question his emphatic declarations that the only thing he’s ever desired as a Bozeman resident been to help the citizens of his community.

Here’s the latest update.

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64 Comments on "Put a Fork in Him: Gianforte Sued to Block Public Access to River"

  1. Useful information, thanks for getting it out there!

    • ?Gianforte’s logic determines/selects Wittich?
      (No wonder Gianforte’s code failed!)
      Here again online Journalism in Montana is/will be, creating expression of vital public information allowing for public participation.

      Expression of critical public information,
      while big City newspapers in Montana
      favor partisan information,
      some wonderful Guest Columns,
      and Cowgirl making the scoops!

  2. Interesting stuff. This is also around the time that Art Wittich was intertwined with Western Tradition Partnership as a candidate and as its attorney. I wonder if Gianforte (or one of his entities) was also involved with or helped fund Western Tradition Partnership. Need to keep peeling back this onion.

  3. The truth is always stranger than fiction. Who was gg running against?

    • Montana is a funny place. An “understudy” wakes up one day and learns he has the lead role of Republican candidte for Governor. Ravalli County Planning Administrator Terry Nelson will be on the hot seat if gg can’t continue the race. He’s a political newbe, like gg and entered the race because no other Republican from western Montana was likely to file. He named Niki Sardot as a runnung mate.

  4. A lot of folks involved with or funding Western Tradition Partnership did not run for office.

  5. Does the easement have a name, signage? It would be useful before this spreads too widely, to know more about the details of this. What was the upshot of the suit? When was the suit filed? Lest we forget, in 1993 (if that is, in fact, when the suit was filed) Art Wittich may have been an asshole, but he was not a Tea Pary politician asshole, that was yet to come. How long had the Gianforte’s owned the property before building? How close is the house to the easement? Were they made aware of the public Easement in the Title Search? Before Gianforte is taken to the woodshed on something like this, the cudgel needs to be much more clearly defined. If the lawsuit failed or was withdrawn, Gianforte can claim that he, 23 years ago, like many newcomers to Montana, took awhile to shed his New Jersey ways and come to the light.

  6. Nigel Tufnell | May 9, 2016 9:43 AM at 9:43 AM |

    Why didn’t this get covered in a newspaper first? I really hope it’s not because one of them turned it down.

    • Bozeman Daily Chronicle had nearly an identical article back in 2009. It’s linked in a different comment above.

  7. Giantfart’s supporters won’t care anymore than the Trumpet’s supporters get upset by his racism. They feel the same way. If only they were rich, they’d lock out poor people–especially if those poor folks are brown–in a heartbeat.

  8. Well said

  9. If this is true he would not get my vote. It is getting harder to fish, hunt,recreate because of these wealthy landowners. They sell their hunting and fishing rights to outfitters for out of state people with deep pockets.

  10. Another simple scoop Our Newspapers didn’t capture for the Public. Pitiful!

    Republicans have alway had problems in protecting Public interest This just proves it all the more!

  11. What the the outcome of the suit?

  12. Queen City Dem | May 9, 2016 3:13 PM at 3:13 PM |

    He dropped it when he realized it might affect his race for Governor

  13. Montana native | May 9, 2016 3:45 PM at 3:45 PM |

    Montanans must be ever vigilant in protecting our right to access public land and in keeping our land ours. Too many out of staters with money want what we have for themselves. This yaahoo is a snake in an elephants clothing.

  14. So what was the outcome of the suit? Is there access now or not? This was back in 2009 what is the situation now? Was the easement legal?

  15. Take a look at the Cherry River Access map on the FWP website. Looks like the area in question was merged into the official Cherry River Access since there are two portions shown on the map.

    Here is the link: http://fwp.mt.gov/fishing/siteDetail.html?id=281439

    A google map search of Cherry River Fishing Access shows the original access site. Not too hard to figure out where the easement part is when comparing to the FAS map.

  16. The easement runs from Manley Road to the southern portion of Cherry River. The Gianfortes bought the property with the easement in 2005. This is across the road from their home and other properties, which they started purchasing in 1994.

  17. There is not a single truth in your blog about Greg & Susan Gianforte suing the FWP to stop access through their property. The law suit was never pursued or even served on the FWP. The issue came up when the FWP had mis-surveyed the legal access on their property. The Gianfortes wanted to have the FWP correct the problem and once the FWP did a on-site inspection, they admitted it was incorrect and they corrected the problem.
    The Gianfortes are strong supporters of the stream access law, always have been and always will be. They have never denied access to anyone, even during the negotiations with the FWP over this issue. This post is nothing more than a smear campaign, pure and simple.

    • Rattus Norvegicus | May 9, 2016 6:38 PM at 6:38 PM |

      Oh bullshit. The article in the Chronicle linked above disputes your claims. I suppose the Gianfortes are “strong” supporters of access just like their butt buddy Steverion Daines is a strong supporter of the environment (LCV score: 0).

    • in that case the Gianfortes forgot to brief their lawyer who said:

      There are several other points to access the river in that area, said Art Wittich, the Bozeman attorney representing East Gallatin. So the easement is not necessary for public recreation needs, and, he said, his client’s property is being harmed by public wear and tear. “There’s been damage to the property, and what they want to do is avoid that,” Wittich said.

      …unless you’re saying the journalist made up the Wittich quote? Talk about conspiracy theories…

  18. It’s unfortunate your posts are so biased because you do good incestigative work. Of course it’s just a blog so it’s to be expected, but you should research as much about facts as you do finding ‘dirt’. You will learn they did not build a home, and it’s very modest. Over 15 years a remodel converting old garage into study and building a garage after purchasing from another family. Over the years as business and success grew, they purchased neighboring properties totaling 150 acres and over 2 miles of river frontage.

    I’m on the fence personally about restricting access to steams. I know in college the Kolb Ranch in Lolo had barb wire running across Lolo Creek trying to prevent people from accessing their property but I often climbed through and continued to fish out to mouth of the Bitterroot River.

    You are right that this is common practice and Maclays, Kolbs, and other early settling families have done similar on their large ranches. No big conspiracy as you spin it, and the fantastical reporting of building home and eluding to some mansion kills the other credibility.

  19. The suit was filed, and the documents are almost certainly at the gallatin court house. You get one year to serve the parties after the filing of the suit. By the time that year was over, Wittich and the Gianfortes probably saw it would be an uphill battle and Gianforte was starting to think about a political career.

  20. The Gianfortes had no intention of using a law suit to close access, period. You can believe what you want to believe, but that is the facts. All they wanted to do is to record an accurate easement and the FWP can verify that they made a mistake for which they corrected. I believe the proof was already provided to the liberal rag Chronicle. You people are reaching for anything in order to come with some dirt on Greg, and will print or say anything even if it isn’t the truth.

    • sounds like someone needs to call the FWP lawyer in the article.

      • “FWP can verify that they made a mistake…”.Well, clarify whether “they” is a mistake made by GG or FWP?

    • I’ve heard the Chronicle called a lot of things but never a “liberal rag.”

    • “All they wanted to do is to record an accurate easement”

      I’m having a hard time with the idea that someone needs to file a lawsuit for that. Surely there must be a process with FWP to clarify what the easement covers, or to have a surveyor check the property. Did Gianforte follow that process?

  21. Harold Johnson | May 10, 2016 7:15 AM at 7:15 AM |

    If it is true than it is true. But this blog bringing it up leads me to doubt the validity. Certainly can’t vote for someone who is against steam access, but then again look at the source…..No guts to show your face, typical liberal who wants to steal what little money I make now that does not go to the government…..

  22. For recent Google Earth view:
    “Cherry River Fishing access Interstate 90 Frontage Rd”
    For a Google earth view close to 2009, maybe a reader will volunteer a perspective angle looking at river bank and easement! (Any fence put up along the easement?)
    And maybe the perspective view could somehow mark or locate access routes to the 75 Acre FWP public use site.
    Possibly Mr. Gianforte and Mr. Wittich were both fools for thinking they could break a prescriptive easement.
    But that’s impossible, for Mr. Gianforte is a nice man and a good man!

  23. Another sad yet true story in the on going saga of public land grabs. Just a little more bitter one considering his position and running platform of hanging on to outdoor traditions. Ala Western Traditons Partnership. Thanks for bringing this kind of information to the publics eye….need more.

    Thank you

  24. “it’s very modest.” — Ive been in their home. It’s far from modest. It’s interesting the story of this man. He’s used his kids to make political contributions. He continually ran a company in the red while claiming how great it was for Bozeman. He’s always claimed how everything he does is for the community. Yet, he sold out a completely over-valued company the first chance he got. Publicly sued the city over our affirmation of equal rights for everyone regardless of sex identity. Has worked behind the scenes often to get what he wants. Builds a creation museum, in Miles City, far from his identity in Bozeman. And has a son who while in Montana, used a different last name because he didn’t want anyone to know he was related to his dad. Gianforte is not good for Bozeman. he is not good for Montana, and I say that regardless of his political party affiliations.

  25. Greg Gianforte was on the “Hunt Talk Radio” podcast and was interviewed by Randy Newberg. Randy asked Greg about his views on wildlife management and public access…. Greg had nothing informed to say about wildlife or forest management and danced around the question of whether he would support selling state lands. It’s important to note that Greg’s ideas for wildlife and forest management are influenced not by science – but by his belief that snakes talk, dinosaurs roamed the earth with humans, and that contrary to sedimentary evidence – the earth is only 6000 years old.

  26. Frank N Furter | May 10, 2016 3:09 PM at 3:09 PM |

    http://www.gregformontana.com/posts/news/greg-gianfortes-strong-record-stream-access

    It seems Mr. Gianforte takes exception to the allegations brought forth.

  27. Harold Johnson | May 10, 2016 4:26 PM at 4:26 PM |

    Hmmmmm, Thanks for post that. But, what can you expect from slanted journalism anyway?

  28. Hmmmm….all of the emails and letters have been published in the newspapers. It’s very clear that all GG wanted was for folks to use the easement and not be wandering all over the rest of his property.

  29. It’s long, but it is a goods and FACTUAL read. The first three points are my personal opinion and the rest relates all to environmental issues.

    Let’s put that aside, stop for a moment and think about a few things. Forget for a moment political parties and their supposed “values” and let’s look at Greg Gianforte the person.

    #1. His long history of personal faith is just that, personal. However, he has utilized his wealth and his name,(and his wife as well) to push his own agenda publicly, because his name allows him to do so. Opposing the non-discrimination ordinance on the claims, “businesses don’t want it.” In January he “clarified” his position on the matter, he fell back to what took place at a business he doesn’t own anymore. He made claims how Right Now didn’t discriminate. Good for Right Now. But what he doesn’t tell you is that a.) As a publicly held company, it would have been stupid to do so as shareholders could have brought suit, and easily won. But more importantly b.) to do so would be violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law that prohibits businesses from discriminating, regardless of state law. The EEOC has interpreted Title VII to include this and US courts have agreed that it is a correct interpretation. Therefore, Gianforte’s point is mute with regards to his clarification. Based on his and his wife’s stance in Bozeman, IF he could have done so, I believe that yes they would. After all, didn’t have a Christian school, so they built one. Didn’t have a Christian college, so they helped fund that too.

    #2. In reference to the above regarding faith and giving via the Gianforte Family Foundation. Calling yourself Christian in today’s age, for 99%, is at best an example defenition of hypocrite; a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings. Let’s face it. We’re human beings, we’re all flawed. That’s a fact. But to use your name, and your money to publicly promote yourself while proclaiming Christian values, is a direct conflict with the values of Christ as presented in the 4 gospels. Gospels that man has long accepted as the best representations of Christ’s words and examples of belief. In this instance, Matthew 6:1-4

    #3. The Gianforte foundation listed the benefactors of their giving. A large majority are all indeed of religious values and as they state, that is one of their purposes. The one thing someone can’t help but notice, is that not one of those benefactors has something to do with God’s greatest creation of all (if you are so inclined to believe in it that way that is) – our planet. Our home. Our MONTANA. Ask people why they live here. How many will tell you it is because of our outdoors, our beauty. Our wildlife, our clean water and clean air. We live for this. Seems particularly odd that someone so vested in Christian family values doesn’t take care of the one thing that families need the most. A clean outdoors for their kids to play. Recreational opportunities such as camping, fishing, horseback riding. ALL the things a happy family would love to do.
    —————
    But let’s put all that aside too. For this is not a personal attack, but rather, pointing out issues and ideas in a political candidate.
    ————-
    #4. Gianforte has been speaking a great deal lately regarding our agencies that deal with environment and outdoors. Just today, he stated he believes the head of Montana’s FWP needs to be replaced. Here is the exact quote — “But now my opponents are falsely claiming we sought to deny access on our property in Bozeman.This is exactly why we need new leadership in Helena and further, at FWP” What does the FWP have to do with a lawsuit you supposedly did not file? Of interest regarding this today, he made a statement that all of it was flase, yet provided no evidence to back it up.
    —————————–
    State of Montana Constitution – Let’s discuss this right quick because many people have no idea what is in our constitution, and it is readily apparent for someone who wants to take custody of our great state that he is unaware of what our state’s constitution protects. Here we go:
    ——————————–
    Article IX — ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES
    Section 1. Protection and improvement.
    (1) The state and each person shall maintain and improve a clean and healthful environment in Montana for present and future generations.
    (2) The legislature shall provide for the administration and enforcement of this duty.
    (3) The legislature shall provide adequate remedies for the protection of the environmental life support system from degradation and provide adequate remedies to prevent unreasonable depletion and degradation of natural resources.

    Section 2. Reclamation. (1) All lands disturbed by the taking of natural resources shall be reclaimed. The legislature shall provide effective requirements and standards for the reclamation of lands disturbed.
    (2) The legislature shall provide for a fund, to be known as the resource indemnity trust of the state of Montana, to be funded by such taxes on the extraction of natural resources as the legislature may from time to time impose for that purpose.
    (3) The principal of the resource indemnity trust shall forever remain inviolate in an amount of one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000), guaranteed by the state against loss or diversion.

    Section 3. Water rights. (1) All existing rights to the use of any waters for any useful or beneficial purpose are hereby recognized and confirmed.
    (2) The use of all water that is now or may hereafter be appropriated for sale, rent, distribution, or other beneficial use, the right of way over the lands of others for all ditches, drains, flumes, canals, and aqueducts necessarily used in connection therewith, and the sites for reservoirs necessary for collecting and storing water shall be held to be a public use.
    (3) All surface, underground, flood, and atmospheric waters within the boundaries of the state are the property of the state for the use of its people and are subject to appropriation for beneficial uses as provided by law.
    (4) The legislature shall provide for the administration, control, and regulation of water rights and shall establish a system of centralized records, in addition to the present system of local records.

    Section 7. Preservation of harvest heritage. The opportunity to harvest wild fish and wild game animals is a heritage that shall forever be preserved to the individual citizens of the state and does not create a right to trespass on private property or diminution of other private rights.
    ———————————————-

    #5. In his announcement manifesto listed here: http://www.gregformontana.com/posts/news/greg-gianforte-announcement-speech

    He made a variety of statements regarding jobs and our natural resources. Rebuttal For example:
    A. ) – “You see, in Washington, D.C., they think a prairie chicken is more important than your job. And at least one politician in Helena is too chicken to stand up to them.”
    FACT: Montana doesn’t have Prarie Chickens. Their historical range was up in the bakken area, but they are not in residence in Montana. Besides, if a species like the priaire chicken as an example, was in trouble, possibly endangered, then by federal law, not the will of the governor of Montana, the species is afforded protections and if that means no jobs for a particular area to protect our natural resources, then so be it. But, I refer you back to the State of Montana constitution.
    ————————————-

    B.) – from both federal and state environmental extremists. If Barack Obama’s Costly Power Plan is implemented, Montanans will lose over 7,000 jobs. And every single Montanan will see their electric bill go up by 16%. Plus, we’ll see a $1.5 billion negative hit to our economy. This would be the single largest catastrophic economic event in Montana in 30 years.
    FACTS: First, take a moment fo your busy time. Do a search on Donora, PA October 27th, 1948. Residents that morning began to notice a thick, yellowish cloud of fog building up in their small town of 14,000 people. By the following day, coughing and signs of respiratory distress were common. By the time it rained on October 31st and cleared the fog, 20 people had died and 7,000 more were sickened. — This event would eventually prompt the first clean air act of 1963, heavily influence the 1970 act and the success of the 1970 act as evidence by the recovery from acid rain (due to industrial and coal emissions) at the Hubbard brook National research forest in New Hampshire. — It was so successful in fact, that in 1989 George HW Bush introduced huge revisions to the 1970 bill that leveled even more emissions standards on industry and coal. Edward Addison President of Southern Energy, a regional power company, commissioned a study from one the most respected business consultants at that time. Addison testified before the house that these new standards would be so costly that rates would increase 5.5 to 13% by 2009. GUESS WHAT HAPPENED? RATES DECLINED 16% BETWEEN 1999 AND 2000. And we cleaned up our air even further.
    ——————————————–

    C.) – Unfortunately, the Bullock Administration takes its cue from Washington. By continuing to deny and delay job creating permits — like Otter Creek – and the Bull Mountain mine. Nearly 60 working men and women had to tell their families they were losing their job at Christmas time.
    FACTS – Again I refer you to the State of Montana Constitution. AND, here we go about Otter Creek for the record and the example. Pursuant to the Montana State Constitution and state law under the Montana Environemental Policy Act, The DNRC AND DEQ jointly began work on an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) Note, the Federal Law requires this same process when manageing federal lands. These EIS proceeding also include periods fo public comment. This gives you a voice in our environment. On April 26th the Otter Creek caol permit was denied because of a court order regarding the railroad that was to be attached to it. It’s easier if you just read the document. It’s not teribly long — http://www.stb.dot.gov/Decisions/readingroom.nsf/UNID/03CBCE78A2C47C8485257FA00053D50A/$file/45082.pdf —— OBVIOUSLY THIS HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE GOVERNOR
    ——————————–
    D.) – On top of lost jobs, we’ve got a Governor who’s failed to deliver on essential infrastructure. In Culbertson, the water bill for a single home is already $1,200 per year. Because of the Governor’s failure in leadership, it’s going up another 18% this year.
    FACTS — SEMI-TRUE: In 2013 a 35 Million dollar bill was passed for insfrastructure in that area. However, The legislature wante dto spend straigtht up cash and from what I can tell, the entirety of the appropriations process wasn’t leaving enough in the bank for the states rainy day fund. Because Bullock supported the infrastructure project, but wanted to use bonds as a vehicle to fund he decided to veto it to kep the budget inline. In 2015, the legislature themselves failed to pass another bill for the governor to consider. So one one hand, yes he is at fault, on the other hand, the general legsilature is at fault.
    —————–
    E.) – ” But we need a business leader in charge of the DEQ. A landowner in charge of the DNRC” — So tell me, do you want a business leader in charge of the DEQ? Do you think a business leader has the best interests of the state’s environment at heart. After all, if you review everything Gianforte is discussing on the campaign trail.. its’ jobs, jobs, jobs, development, jobs, development — We have a State Constitution. It has very specific environmental directions. We have specific laws that deal with our environment and how we treat our natural resources. Gianforte can put a landowner in at the DNRC, he can put a business leader in at the DEQ… he cannot usurp state law and the constitution to get what he wants. — THIS alone proves his incompetent knowledge about our state processes, and, his real agenda.. money and development before your backyard. Imagine that. A christian business man, who gives money freely to foundations for christian family values, has no intention of protecting the very thing that keeps families together. A clean environment and recreational opportunities outdoors.

    F. ) — “I’m a sportsman and a lifetime member of the NRA” — I refer you to the above. Sportsman in the state of Montana are some of the biggest advocates of wildlife and environmental conservation. So it’s incredibly hypocrtiical of Gianforte to make fun of Prairie Chickens and tell everyone how he is going to disrupt our envirnmental processes for the sake of his business ambitions. THAT is the diffeence between a sportsman, and a business man. This is further evidenced by this statement at the end of his manifesto… “Will you join me in rounding up burdensome regulations and lowering taxes to grow our economy?” — His priority is not in being a good steward of a clean environment for your you, your kids, nor his “grandbabies that Sue was so happy to have back in Montana.”
    —————————
    G.) – On 2/6/16 Gianforte stated — “He added, “DEQ just doesn’t know how to issue a permit any more. Last Friday was the deadline for permitting the Montanore Mine near Libby. DEQ says it needs more time. It’s been 11 years. Isn’t that long enough?” — Thats his rationale for wanting to put a business person in charge. But here is what he doesn’t tell you.
    FACTS – The mine is within a national forest and a wilderness area. THIS IS FEDERAL TERRITORY. The permitting process is primarily handled by the federal government under the NEPA statute which exists to protect YOUR forests from economic exploitation. DEQ was the secondary permitter. Essentially, along for the ride. The fairlur to issue the permit sooner than 11 years has nothing to to do with the State of Montana. — So is Gianforte on the side of the family who wants a clean environment, clean air, and clean water? This is either a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts, but more likely because he doesn’t understand how the environmental laws work on state and federal lands. — The following is a statement from the Montanorte Mine Projkect ———-

    In 2005, the Montanore project started an application to re-permit the use of the mine; the application was an amendment of the 1993 permits applications submitted by Noranda Minerals of Canada, which had by then withdrawn operations from the U.S. At that time, Mines Management estimated the process to be complete within 15 to 20 months.
    Mines Management CEO Glenn Dobbs explained to the audience why the project has taken an immense amount of time. He said the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process for the project is complicated and misguided.
    “The problem with the NEPA process is that it doesn’t have to do with protection of wildlife or protection of the forests,” Dobbs said. “It was mainly established to gain control of the land.”
    ———————————-
    H.) – “The state can certainly do a better job of managing federal lands. The federal government has not held up their end of the deal… here in Ravalli County, we burn our forests every summer, our timber sales have gotten tied up in litigation, we keep losing jobs in timber.”
    FACTS: Spoken like a true businessman who knows nothing of science, or ecology. Fire is a natural process that restore ecological needs. Logging does not. We prescribe burn sometimes as part of conservation and restoration. But see, Gioanforte doesn’t know this. he doesn’t support our environmental scientists at Montana State. He supports our computer scientists. He can make money off a computer a scientist. Environmental and Wildlife scientists cost him money.
    ——————————————
    I.) – “I think we all agree that if we manage our forests, we will have healthier forests, more wildlife, more hunting opportunities and less wildfires and more timber to our mills so we can have jobs for people. It’s a win, win, win, win, win scenario. We need to find a path forward for that to occur because we’ve been going in the wrong direction.” —- Coming from a business man, who would replace th ehead of FWP, install a business person in the DEQ to usurp the environmental law protections in our constitution and within state staute. Logging reduces habitat for hunting. Selective logging can be useful, depending upon circumstance. Fires are good for forests. Not bad. He doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    Here’s the deal. Gianforte likes to tell you he is not a political insider. But HE IS an outsider WANTING TO BE INSIDE. Why? It’s power. Power to help his friends in business make more money. AND, all of these environmental issues he is telling you about? He is misrepresenting. He is not having a conversation with you, he is doing what a majority of politicians do best. he is misleading you so that he can attain power. Nothing more. If he cared about the average citizen of Montana, he would understand that we do care about our environment. Ranchers, hunters, backcountry enthusiasts and so on. He would also take the time to learn how our federal government laws and practices work. How our state constitution and envirnmental laws work. You know that river that runs behind his property that he loves to sit by? I bet if 40,000 gallons of oil spilt into it near him, he would be the first person to start complaining how we don’t do enough to protect the environment. But he would only do so because it affected him. Not you.

    I’d love to debate him regarding state and federal statutes regarding our environmental laws, and how they work. He would walk away while I did a mic drop.

    • Richard Miller | May 10, 2016 7:40 PM at 7:40 PM |

      WOW! Thanks for the info. I feel that you forgot one: With his “high paying jobs” idea, how much longer will the average Montanan be able to afford to live here when the state resembles Silicon Valley with San Francisco rents and property rates?

  30. Frank N Furter | May 10, 2016 8:02 PM at 8:02 PM |

    @ Fatso:

    You wrote,”It’s very clear that all GG wanted was for folks to use the easement and not be wandering all over the rest of his property.”

    This is directly from the GG Website.

    So, which is it?

    “I’m a strong supporter of stream access laws. Susan and I allow stream access, parking on our property, and archery hunting on our land. We often sit by the river after a long day and wave to folks walking along the banks or canoeing downstream.”

  31. The Helena IR posted some emails obtained from FWP. The story did not mention an email from an FWP attorney dated June 23, 2009, which states she wants to talk “about how important this site and how much use it gets (or at used to get before the Gianforte’s locked it up).” So he filed suit and locked out the public from using a fishing access with a recorded easement that clearly existed when he bought the property? The emails are not easy to follow, but it appears Gianforte/Wittich used the lawsuit as leverage to get FWP to move the trail entirely on to State fishing access property (per a November 4, 2010 FWP email).

  32. Harold Johnson | May 10, 2016 9:53 PM at 9:53 PM |

    Well, from what I researched, this article is a fabrication, as I thought. Stretching the truth on something that was really nothing. Figures. Nice write up Mr. Figura. Not much truth in some of it, but it was long and made you look like you know what you are talking about. I especially like the part about green energy being cheaper. Ha Ha. Fantasy. Not saying its not a good thing, but fantasy regardless.

    • Nothing I said had anything to do with green energy. Everything I posted iscfactual and can be found easily. The only thing I did say was not factual, were the first three points. If you believe I am incorrect state what it is and we’ll discuss it.

  33. Harold Johnson | May 10, 2016 9:58 PM at 9:58 PM |

    Oh, I forgot to ask….when does the blog come out about Bullock using the states air transportation (at tax payers expense) to make campaign trips? I don’t want to miss that one either!

    • Been there — done that. Check the search engine before spouting off. You’ll also see a comment from me. To save taxpayer money, I scheduled the governor’s plane for four flight hours to take state employees to an event in Northeastern Montana. It was the first and last time I set foot in the plane. I decided I’d be safer driving sixteen hours in a motorpool car.

  34. Harold Johnson | May 11, 2016 2:38 PM at 2:38 PM |

    Yep, read it. Good point. I never googled it and I hope its on the up and up. Since you obviously work for the governor and are a democrat, it must be true. Good to hear they are not wasting our taxes!

  35. Here’s the FWP online map.
    Surely this can not be! The people in the very large house,
    were trying to diminish public access ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RIVER?

    http://fwp.mt.gov/fishing/siteDetail.html?id=281439

    Hopefully someone will come up with a map overlaying the FWP map and the round insert of a ?fotocopy of record of the EASEMENT, at the excellent write and read at the link Cowgirl provided to a website from Bozeman. Where you will find results from someone who actively dug into the story not told since 2010.

    (Please note that the Gallatin County GIS Maps show two slices of white, possibly private land, South of the River. GIS maps are interactive, allowing users to measure distances.)

  36. JD Figura, that satelite map is wonderful!
    And your observations??

    • It shows the area in dispute. . Bottom line, if Gianforte didn’t know about the easement, then I believe his title company didn’t do due diligence. FWP I imagine didn’t want to deal with the headache of a lawsuit. Would you over a miniscule piece of property? The real problem is that it is remote. Far enough from his house. If it were mine I couldn’t have cared less. My personal opinion was that he was pissy for one reason or another, probably for no real reason other than he “didnt want people on his property.” The emails are pretty clear that his version of events aren’t what took place. Most of all, he claims in the media he’s an advocate for stream access. Don’t know about anyone else, but after extensive searches online, there is nothing Gianforte has done to advocate for stream access, or any other environmental issue for that fact.

  37. Giantfortune sues to close an easement that’s been in place for decades and block access to the Gallatin River. Giantfortune donates money to PERC. PERC fights AGAINST stream access, and even filed an amicus brief in a case trying to block public access to the Madison River. Giantfortune and his supporters claim he has always been FOR stream access. I guess he’s just really bad at it.

    • He has no record in Montana of working to protect its resources, streams or otherwise, nor advocating for them. For those that don’t know PERC, it is an organization who wants no environmental regulation because they believe in the economic concept of property rights. Meaning, anything related to the environment would solve itself because the property owner has the investment in the property and therefore its best interest. They believe the free market will solve all environmental issues. One only need to look back in American history to understand that this is a flawed idea and a pipe dream.

  38. Totally. Guys like Giantfortune love the Free Market Economy (so long as that means freedom for millionaires, and economy for you and me.)

  39. Most special thanks to Kathryn QannahYahu
    for putting legs under this story!
    Hoping Kathryn will comment hereabouts!

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