Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Shake Ups

     The outdoors world is not without it's controversies and scandals. Sometimes these issues surprise us, and at other times they seem par for the course. I've recently received word of a couple of shake ups.

     In our first shake up Ducks Unlimited has landed smack dab in the middle of a money grab. Recently DU fired long time DU magazine correspondent E. Donnall Thomas. Why? Well,...follow the money. Don, who also writes for several other publications, earlier this year wrote about a series of stream access court cases going through the Montana court system. At the heart of the matter a land owner, James Cox Kennedy, objected to people floating the Ruby river, which runs through his property, and accessing it from a bridge, on a public road, that went through his property. After a series of trials Mr Kennedy lost his bid to close off the stream, and public access was upheld. The thing is Mr Kennedy is very wealthy, as in Billions, and is a DU contributor. It seems, at the end of the day DU would rather have Mr Kennedy's money than Mr Thomas' writings. What I find distasteful in all of this is the fact that the issue which Mr Thomas wrote about was a) a matter of fact, and b) had nothing to do with DU. And once again, money gets it's way. Anyway, for me, it's bye bye DU, Delta Waterfowl here I come.

     Here is Mr Thomas' original article.

     And here is a statement by Mr Thomas.

     Also, a follow up article on the case.

     On to our next shake up. This may or may not be a bad thing, but Weyerhaeuser is set to buy Plum Creek. Plum Creek owns a lot of land in Western Maine and New Hampshire, and allows public access. Plum Creek's lands in Maine and New Hampshire are essentially public lands, though they do lease land in some other states. Weyerhaeuser, on the other hand seems to operate on a pay-to-play basis, offering land leases, and for sale land use permits. It is unclear if Weyerhaeuser will continue the New England tradition of allowing access to forest lands, or if they will begin selling permits and offering leases. Time will tell.

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