Like most political battles, our fight to keep Siskiyou County’s rivers open and accessible to fishermen is transitioning from the preliminaries — where you find out who’s involved and where they fall — into the kind of political chess game that plays out largely through intermediaries, rumors, whispers and code.

I’ve promised to play nice for a week, so I’m just going to say this; the avalanche of e-mails and letters from Underground readers has made a difference. A big difference. Trust me. BIG.

Your work is making a difference. Now, we wait. And enjoy the river.

The supervisors received e-mails from all over the world, and there were a healthy number of local and regional responses (including several that hit the trifecta — biz owners who were experts and constituents).

The Underground’s Legal Braintrust

Just as valuable were the suggestions and research, all of which went into the larger message sent the way of the supervisors.

That message wasn’t just “we don’t like this.” It was “we don’t like it, and as near as we can tell, neither does the legal system, and to prove it, here’s a legal cite.”

My first post on this issue generated a record 70 thoughtful comments, and it’s ample testament to the power of an organized “Web 2.0” community that it was the Undergrounders (not the Underground’s sniveling head writer) who very quickly established the legal framework by which this plan became legally laughable.

Plus, you helped galvanize other organizations into action

You even got me off my butt and looking into Modoc County’s version of this plan, a bit of research which is paying dividends — information which likely offers the Undergrounders, the Supervisors, and Siskiyou County a way forward.

Public Comment the Key

I’m not going to say I’m in love with every aspect of Modoc County’s Land Use Policies, but they got one part very right — they invested eight months and a half-dozen public input meetings into the construction of their plan.

By contrast, Siskiyou county’s plan appears to have been written by one (or at most two) people, it’s being rushed, and it seems that public comment is largely unwanted (it’s not really public comment if the author picks and chooses what’s included, is it?).

The result is the pulpy, largely anti-legal mess we’ve been beating up on for the last couple weeks. I have hopes that’s all about to change.

We’re not done, but we are holding in a “wait and see” mode (if you haven’t sent a polite e-mail yet, feel free to do so — that’s still helpful).
This isn’t a Hollywood movie, but the prospects for a Hollywood-style ending are looking better.

Stay tuned. Updates if necessary, and more news Tuesday evening — at the latest. Don’t relax overmuch; we might still have to go nuclear on this, but we won’t have to do it today.

For now, take a deep breath. And we return you to your regularly scheduled fly fishing blog (but feel free to add any new thoughts and comments).

Link Love

I fell behind, but wanted to thank the other sites who ponied up support. That includes the angst-ridden steelheaders at Voluntary Beatdown, the Former Supreme Court Justices at OverMyWaders, the just-discovered SwitchFisher, the already-mentioned Fishing Jones, and the kinda-scary Murdock at (and anyone else I missed or forgot — send me an e-mail).

Then there were the Orvis Conservation folks. They didn’t want any credit (sorry!), but they showed up with moral support in the kind of fight that’s typically not very popular among corporations.

You guys are great. All of you.

See you on the river (and it’s about goddamned time), Tom Chandler.

[tags]fly fishing, fishing, stream access, stream access rights, river access, river access rights, [/tags]