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Railroad Track Trespassing

8/5/15 @ 8:33 AM
User since 12/16/07
There have been some great articles in the news lately about the Wisconsin law that says you can't walk over railroad tracks to get to some of your favorite fishing holes. It's trespassing and you are subject to a fine. Wisconsin Outdoor News, the LaCrosse Tribune and Patrick Durkin have all written about it.

I am a freelance writer and I am going to write about this important "public access" topic too. Please Google and review some of the above articles and email me your thoughts at [email protected] I may use some of your comments in my next newspaper column. Please try to get me your comments no later than August 10th, 2015. Thanks, Jim Furley

8/18/15 @ 10:16 AM
User since 12/16/07
Howdy anglers,

First of all, I would like to thank Dean Bortz, Patrick Durkin and others for bringing this important topic to the public's attention.

My story is finished. I have sent the story and pictures to small daily and weekly newspapers from Wausau south to the northern fringes of Illinois. Publishers can run the article free-of-charge in their print editions, websites and/or on their Facebook page. If you haven't seen it yet in your favorite publication, call the editor and ask them to publish it.

Thanks and tight lines, Jim Furley

8/18/15 @ 8:20 AM
User since 3/29/12
I'm not as quick to sympathize with the RR company as some earlier posters have been with regards to their rights to private property similar to everyone else. Historically, railroad companies have been subsidized heavily by taxpayers and much of the land that they hold today was literally ceded to them for free by the government many many decades ago. This type of government handout remains today, embodied in subsidies. Sounds a lot like the free market economics our governor purportedly touts. In simple terms of right and wrong any citizen of Wisconsin should have access to lands owned by railroad companies, particularly bodies of water guarded off by them.

8/17/15 @ 7:39 AM
Duke M
User since 1/12/09
It is my understanding that the law allowing crossing of R/R tracks was changed in either 2005 or 2006 at the behest of the R/R also in a budget bill addition. It slipped through without much notice. Then this past Winter R/R "detectives" began warning ice anglers they would be cited. I was on BNSF's site and their 2014 operating revenue was 23 billion dollars. Warren Buffet and Bershire Hathaway are major owners. Do you think Warren Buffet has ever ice fished or tried to fish from shore? Do you think the BNSF gives a rat's rear about any of us? We have to contact our legislators, I have sent 8 hand written letters and have gotten responses from most. Lee Nerison is definitely working for us on this.

Please make at least e-mail contact with politicians who are supposed to represent us not a Texas based mega rail road.

8/16/15 @ 6:48 AM
MEMBER since 6/15/01
now I see... this isn't about a NEW law, this is about repealing a law that has been on the books for a long, long time

some legislator tried adding the repeal of the law to the state budget

the budget was vetoed because of that late addition

"State Railroad Commissioner Jeff Plale says the provision started as an effort to address concerns about people trying to access fishing areas along the Mississippi River, but somehow transformed into a full repeal in the budget writing process. Plale says the fishing access issue is something they can fix without having to repeal an important law that protects public safety, either by putting in safe crossings or working with local officials. As written, he says "it opens up railroad trespass carte blanche throughout the state. I think it's just wrong-headed."

8/13/15 @ 7:35 AM
MEMBER since 6/15/01
"There have been some great articles in the news lately about the Wisconsin law that says you can't walk over railroad tracks to get to some of your favorite fishing holes."

is that how the law reads?

8/12/15 @ 11:03 PM
User since 12/2/14
I'll just jump over them

8/5/15 @ 8:19 PM
MEMBER since 12/11/01
Maybe they should be taxed as water front property and they'll change their tune.

8/5/15 @ 4:25 PM
User since 12/25/09
The difference with private property rights is that much of the land was taken by eminent domain not like lake shore property purchased from a willing seller. The reason the repair bill was vetoed by the governor was safety as a main factor (I'm sure it has nothing to do with the donations from BNSF to our elected officials), in my opinion crossing the tracks is no more dangerous than crossing the highway and should be fixed through legislative action. With that said I urge all interested parts too contact your assembly representative and tell them this needs to be fixed and that it will be a deciding factor come next election cycle. If need be take this up at next spring DNR hearings, we see more and more places closed to recreation every day so lets pull together and fix this.

8/5/15 @ 11:33 AM
User since 12/6/10
Badger,most lake shorelines are completely owned by multiple private land owners, do you propose that fishermen be allowed to just go across their land also? I agree it sucks but when the railroads were set up it made sense to run them along the river. If you think the RR thing is bad look into BLM land out west.

8/5/15 @ 11:07 AM
User since 2/6/06
Along the Mississippi river there are railroad tracks bordering a very high percentage of shoreline. It seems wrong that they have that much shoreline to themselves that nobody can legally access. It really hurts the shore fisherman and ice fisherman from getting access to these waterways. Having the tracks right next to the water should have been done with a caveat of having public access to the water. They don't own the river. If the tracks were away from the water then who cares. Furthermore, fisherman aren't the ones getting killed on the tracks and what not. People that want to off themselves will still do it. The whole thing just seems wrong, period.

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