Montana creek access issues. Again..... - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-29-2008   #1
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 90
Montana creek access issues. Again.....

Hey all,
Spoke with a couple of locals up in the Helena area and have confirmed that access to Falls Creek,MT (class IV-V+ - Dearbrn Trib.) has been completely cut-off. The reason given thus far is disrespectful kayakers and trespassing kayakers on private land.
For those of you unfamiliar with this creek - Falls Creek began being run regularly around 2004. There are several good class IV drops, a sweet and lappable 20-foot waterfall and far and way the cleanest/largest runnable waterfall in the state of MT IMHO, a fifty-foot plunge from pool to pool. This creek coupled with a run on the Upper Dearborn(right up the street) provided a great opportunity for diverse crews of creek boaters to paddle together for a full weekend of mellow IV to V+ and at the same time satisfy the needs of the entire lot with a jaw dropping backdrop to boot. (There are good photos and short write-ups for both Falls Creek and Dearborn River on the AW website)

This new issue probably sounds vaguely familiar...
Last year about this time, we contacted the owners of the Lazy K Bar Ranch in MT's Crazy Mountains about permission to host the race on Big Timber Creek. We were immediately informed by the landowner that he was seriously considering closing access to Big T because of disrespectful kayakers speeding and cranking gangsta rap while cruising past his property. We worked diligently with Tack Van Cleve(Landowner) and have the situation currently well in hand(with your help, thanks) and are developing a very positive relationship that goes beyond simple access issues... but it was a close call indeed.
I know that over 400 people have read the recent post about Big T, but humor me, for this is a very important point for everyone to understand. Especially for those of us who live here.

Tack can shut down Big T. Period. There is no way to scout or portage the big drops without trespassing on his property and proving this to the local USFS would be a chip shot for him. Tack and the landowners on Sweetgrass Creek have communicated with each other on their respective issues with paddlers in the past, so it should be obvious that good relations with one will help maintain the other as well. Please keep up with the recent trend of being chill and respectful in that area.

Falls Creek is currently fucked and the potential for this issue to bleed over into the Dearborn run is also very real.
The initial reports are almost exactly the same as last year.
Young dudes in fancy rigs being loud, disrespectful, and trespassing/speeding on private property.
We have a very good idea who the landowners are referring to on both counts, but this isn't a witch hunt for the Silver Spoon Posse...
Those who parked on private property at Falls Creek on creek right, hopped fences, and took shortcuts know who they are. I just want to let you know that you have took away a run many local Montana boaters enjoyed the hell out of paddling by being lazy and ignorant. And that, my friends, is some weak-assed sauce.
If you have the cajones to trick off the fifty-footer on Falls Creek, you sure as shit have the energy to make the 500 yard hike up to scout it first, from the lower, established parking area and onto Forest Service(re:Public) land.

We have a plan in place to establish contact with all parties(landowners) and to hopefully arrange a meeting to try and see if there is any way we can establish a protocol up there that will allow us a second chance on Falls Creek. With any luck at all, Tack Van Cleve may put a good word in for us... To be honest, it will be a longshot at best.

In the end, Young Creek Boaters of America, y'all need to step up and recognize how the way you act around non-boaters and landowners can have a hugely negative effect on an enitre paddling community, not just on your little "gang" of all-star hucksta's. For the sake of the rest of the Montana creeking community I hope that those involved in these damaging events have the humility to recognize their shameful role in these back-to-back issues seriously enough to consider changing their ways when encountering such situations in the future....

For those who have read this far. We would appreciate comments, opinions and ideas from folks in areas that have had similar issues with a few bad apples spoiling the bunch. Montana does not have enough sweet, accessible creeks to allow this to continue.
Our process for Falls Creek access reclamation will be long... We will post our efforts and results as they happen.
Dave Schroeder and Jason Matthews
Headwaters Paddling Association, MT

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Old 05-30-2008   #2
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That sucks man, who listens to gangsta rap anyways? That was so 1995, way before these young hooligans were born.

Gotta respect the landowners (In an Adam Sandler voice)
970-217-21 six six
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Old 05-30-2008   #3
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All I can say is way to go to step and and work with the landowners. That's the only thing that can solve the problem. Perhaps some materials and manual labor to prevent trespassing in certain areas might be appreciated by the owners also. Keep up the good work. Loss of access for all types of recreation is just too scary.

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Old 05-30-2008   #4
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 328
I can't believe Falls Creek got shut down,..that is lame! Flippin kids these days. When did the whole parkrat/moto/skate attitude spill into creek boating? I see it around occasionally, but it still seems to be in its infant stages. Hopefully we can put the kabash on it before it grows into a nasty teenager
BTW, congrats on the new addition to the family Dave!, and keep up the good fight up there.
Chris Morrison
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Old 05-30-2008   #5
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Unfortunate events

Props to you Dave, and the rest of those working on these things in MT. Thanks.

Would offers of some fence-mending (literally) or other manual labor for these guys help the situation? As mentioned above.

What about making up some signage to post around the property?

Other ways to get out the message? Posting info on the AW site? I've done that for a few access-sensitive runs here in VA with similar situtation going on. Seems like getting the word out can't hurt. Maybe this info is already on AW.

A real shame about Falls Ck. After seeing Chris Mo's pics I was stoked to get on that someday...

G Dalton
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Old 05-30-2008   #6
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 90
Hey Gordon

Hey Gordon,
Falls Creek is a sweetheart. Perfect for up and comers to get their feet wet with some big drops for the more experienced team members as well. It was a great weekend warrior destination for us.

We are thinking about proposing a boat drop at the trailhead and parking down the road where it is legal if parking access cannot be restored. Landowners often are not big on second chances for abusive recreationalists... I think we were very fortunate to catch Tack Van Cleve just prior to him taking action on Big T. The difference between maintaining access and regaining access is obviously huge. Thanks for the thoughts. We will hopefully bring AW in if we can get a foot in the door at all.
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Old 05-30-2008   #7
Cody, Wyoming
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Hey Dave I will get the word out around here, thanks for the hard work. I hope to get up there soon.

Think BIG
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Old 05-30-2008   #8
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Originally Posted by COLDFEAR View Post
Hey Dave I will get the word out around here, thanks for the hard work. I hope to get up there soon.

Thanks Aaron,
Drop me an email when you think you might be coming this way. [email protected]
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Old 06-27-2008   #9
Red lodge, Montana
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Access and attitudes

Good Work Dave to get the word out, couldn't agree more with this lousy trend of new boaters forgetting about the whole river ethic thing... Guess what the same may be coming to the front over here on the West Rosebud. I have had a chat with a buddy in the Mt. fish and game, and there is some serious resentment from some of the ranchers towards tresspassers on the lower stretch. I know the owners, and will try to make peace. Mike Holmes
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Old 06-27-2008   #10
Dipshit with the most.
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Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: May 2005
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nice work stonefly, to try to fix what the punks are fucking up.

What ever you want to call it when people disrespect something or thing they are too cool, too important or whatever to respect someone else then shit goes bad.

Have you thought about the idea of a trespass permit. Those who have are golden. Without it is the same as any other trespass and the violators can be jailed, fined whatever. So it can all be marked no trespassing and you can still go boat.

Might keep the scum out and let the real boaters come and go at will.

I have seen this used at one river access here, on some spring creeks and for hunting access for pheasant hunts etc.

Hope you don't lose this. Sounds like a real treat for the airborn inclined.

Good luck.
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