When Drew Hanes thinks about the worst disputes over blocked public access she’s encountered in her career, she recalls the time when her friends found themselves arguing with an angry Montana landowner instead of hunting antelope.
"In Montana we have a history of leasing BLM land to large ranches [for grazing]," says Hanes, the executive director for the Public Land Water Access Association. "My friends were hunting on this BLM land and the owner of the leases came out and said 'I own this, you can’t be here.'"
Hanes’ friend pulled out a digital map to confirm that the group was standing on public land. But the landowner wasn’t swayed from his position that the group was trespassing. If anything, he was ready to stand his ground.
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