Alexandra Vollman, Co-Founder/Editor of Modern Conservationist, Missouri BHA board member, modernconservationist.com
The Missouri chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, in celebration of Public Lands Month, is making three exciting donations to support our public lands and waters!
St. Louis, Mo. - Missouri BHA is proud to announce that it is donating $1,500 to the River Access Coalition, a nonprofit whose mission is to protect public access to Missouri's many streams and rivers.
Missouri BHA has partnered with River Access Coalition in the past to raise funds for its successful lawsuit, which restored public access to the Finley River at Lindenlure in Christian County, Missouri, which had been illegally blocked by a neighboring private landowner.
With matching funds provided by a local philanthropist, $3,000 will go toward fighting the appeal of the court’s prior ruling that's been filed by the private landowner. The landowner had illegally blocked access by barricading the public road with a gate.
You can read more here:
You can support efforts to regain access here:
Missouri BHA is also donating $1,500 to the Wyoming Corner Crossing Fund.
Four hunters from here in Missouri were cited with Criminal Trespass when they stepped from one corner of public land to an adjacent corner of public land in what is commonly known across the West as “corner crossing.”
A large percentage of the West is checkerboarded with private and public lands. In order to access these lands, the public must step from one corner of public land to another. The private landowner in this instance did not like this as he was under the impression that the checkerboarding of lands would prevent the public from accessing the area. After several encounters with the ranch staff, the landowner was able to convince law enforcement to charge the hunters with trespassing. But thanks to the help of BHA, the hunters were found "not guilty."
The private landowner has now filed a civil suit, claiming over $7 million dollars in damages. The damage figure is “the most egregious thing I’ve seen,” said President and CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Land Tawney. "By claiming such large damages, the ranch owner is continuing a pattern of bullying, this time in court."
You can read more here:
Wyoming Corner Crossing Fundraiser.
Ranch owner: Corner Crossing damages could exceed $7m.
And, finally, Missouri BHA has contributed $500 to the BHA Bully Pulpit Fund.
The Bully Pulpit Fund could be one of the most direct ways in which BHA provides financial assistance to chapters to fight local battles with broad importance. The goal of the fund is to provide chapters financial resources to effectively engage on these issues through the establishment of an elective chapter-to-chapter generated fund. This all-for-one and one-for-all mentality strengthens BHA’s presence nationally, regardless of chapter size, and it accurately and acutely maximizes returns at the source, where decisions are most impactful to members. As is often the case, issues threatening BHA’s core values come up quickly and sometimes with little or no warning. Therefore, the access to funds and the reaction by BHA is intended to be quick and nimble.
With matching pledges, the three donations total over $6,500 in funds going to work to protect public access!
“We are so excited to put this hard-earned money to work to protect access and stand up for fellow Missouri outdoorsmen and women who are being unjustly attacked. These donations certainly add an exclamation point to our efforts for Public Lands Month here in Missouri," said Chairman for Missouri BHA Paul Keeven. "This month, we organized a public land clean-up at Cooley Lake River access outside of Kansas City and assisted MDC in the removal of illegal tree stands at BK Leach Conservation Area outside of St. Louis."
What can you do? Join us! As sportsmen, our power and influence to conserve what we love lies in our numbers. When we speak up to Congress, land management agencies and in stakeholder coalitions, we stand with all of our members behind us. With your help, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers will continue to grow as a force for our wild lands, waters, wildlife and the kind of authentic backcountry experience we are determined to pass on to future generations.