Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fresno Dam Story Goes Nationwide

Fresno Spillway
Outdoor Life Photo
 The Great Falls Tribune ran a story on Sunday about the restricted fishing access below Fresno Reservoir. Fresno is a popular local fishery about 10 miles west of Havre but access to anglers below the dam has been severely restricted since the 9-11-2001 terrorist attacks. The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) erected a chain link fence blocking access below the dam in 2002 because of concerns that terrorists just might travel to Havre Montana and could raise havoc with our water supply. While it is great that bureaucrats are concerned with our safety out here in these remote regions their action ruined one of the local’s favorite fishing holes. A local fisherman and retired fisheries biologist, Kent Gilge, has been leading the charge to restore at least partial access to this popular fishing hole.

Gilge says that
“Several hundred local and in-state fishermen have written letters and emails to the BOR and our congressmen to make a small change in a downstream closure boundary so we can fish the basin below the dam. The effort spans almost a year. The BOR has sent out form letters but has not responded to requests for information nor will they hold a public meeting as requested. Despite letters to the BOR from our congressmen, we are being ignored. A perfect example of the waste of time, money and personal freedom by our government.”
According to Gilge this story was given to the Havre Daily “News” over a month ago but they just haven’t found the time to get an article out in our local paper. In the meantime the story has gone national with an excellent article in called How Terrorism Ruined a Fishing Hole.”

Current and proposed access boundaries
(click to enlarge photo)
 Gilge, who says he is just the mouthpiece for several hundred irate local fishermen, recently again asked that the BOR open up a dialogue with local fishermen to at least consider moving the existing boundary back to allow access to the spillway pool. The Homeland security people have also been contacted and they claim that this is simply a BOR directive and they have no control over where the boundary fence restricting access was erected.

Senators Baucus, Tester and Congressman Rehberg have weighed in on this controversy but it appears the BOR have their heels dug in. We have attached the most recent letter from the Bureau of Reclamation to Mr. Gilge and also a picture submitted to the Corrector by Gilge showing the current boundary and the new boundary requested by the local fishermen. It certainly doesn’t seem to be any radical adjustment that would cause national security concerns. I would venture to guess that it is just another in the long list of lost freedoms we are enduring by a government run amuck.

1 comment:

  1. This whole fence thing was stupid in the first place and was a waste of a ton of our tax dollars. The Bureau just doesn’t want to be bothered with us below the dam.

    Multiply this stupidity thousands of times across the country and you will see why we are in deep debt.