If you follow the Underground, you know we’re smack in the middle of a battle to keep the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors (BOS) from approving a “Natural Resources Policy” that eliminates your legal right to fish the rivers in Siskiyou County — including the McCloud and Upper Sacramento.

The Upper Sacramento River
This would be illegal if some have their way…

Even though it’s clear the supervisors can’t legally designate the local rivers as non-navigable — making wading illegal where private property adjoins the river — several of them are still trying.

It spells trouble for us if they succeed, and on a whole range of issues, including access, water quality, habitat protection and many others.

Sadly, the most recent tactic involves a thinly veiled threat; in an e-mail to an Underground reader, one supervisor suggests that if support isn’t forthcoming to have the Scott and Shasta Rivers designated as non-navigable, she’ll be forced to launch a full-on assault on the McCloud and Upper Sacramento.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t much care for threats.

It gets worse.

The supervisor who authored the document publicly stated that she will decide which public comments are accepted and which aren’t.

Transparency? An open process? Nah. Don’t need ‘em when you’re pursuing a reckless public policy course.

Bring It On

While this plan initially snuck in under the radar, it’s finally being scrutinized in the full light of day, and the vast majority of the feedback has been negative, if not downright hostile.

Given the significant pushback the supervisors have received from CalTrout, TU, local residents and fly fishers (especially our own Underground mob), it’s clear they’re feeling the pressure.

Still, the two ringleaders aren’t budging; Supervisor Armstrong is now replying to e-mails with complaints that “local fishing guides” are causing problems through the simple act of (legally) fishing the Scott and Shasta.

Hmmm.

The rest of her stance remains largely opaque to the facts: she feels the Shasta and Scott have long been recognized as non-navigable (wrong); that the Klamath is the only navigable river in the county “under current law” (wrong again – one of our own readers shot that down with a US Supreme Court cite); and that the county even has a voice in this issue (wrong yet again).

Based on a casual reading of many of her weekly newspaper columns, she also feels that rivers are made to be dewatered, that fullscale mining, timber and agriculture operations don’t harm fish populations, and that destructive land use policies are fine because we’ve always done things that way.

This is the same supervisor who’s attacking CalTrout for the mere act of studying water flows in the Shasta River, and if that attack isn’t recommendation enough to get you to join CalTrout, then I don’t know what is.

Next Round: November 6

First, let me say this in big, bold, capital letters:

YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN GREAT.

The research, the spot-on comments, and the small avalanche of e-mails have made a real difference. Our biggest ally on the BOS (LaVada Erickson) finally has a little political clout, and the proponents of this plan (including one who seems to changing direction) suddenly find themselves blinking into the glare of public scrutiny.

Take a minute to pat yourself on the back.

But know this: we’re not done yet.

I’m crafting a lengthy email for submission to all the supervisors using the information my readers unearthed, and I’m aiming letters to the editors of the local papers (the Mount Shasta Herald already published my first).

Naturally, I’ll share any responses, and at some point, I’ll ask the Underground Army to submit another flurry of e-mails (I’m looking into ways to automate the process).

Then the meeting itself looms; Tuesday morning, November 6.

No, I don’t really expect you be there, but hell — why not plan a long weekend trip? Hit the BWOs on the Upper Sac, the October Caddis on the McCloud, the steelies on the long-suffering Klamath — then show up Tuesday morning with a fistful of receipts for the money you’ve spent in the county.

Think a few of the supervisors might squirm a little when asked why they feel the need to criminalize the very activity that supports a big chunk of the local economy — a sustainable, non-extractive activity?

Think that supervisor Jim Cook — who supposedly represents the town of McCloud — wants to explain his tourist-economy-killing stance to his supposed constituents, who rely on fly fishermen to help keep that small town afloat?

I doubt it.

Much more to come. See you in the political trenches, Tom Chandler.

(Click to read the original post on this subject.)

[tags]fly fishing, upper sacramento river, mccloud river, shasta river, scott river, stream access rights, caltrout[/tags]