Access to Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge

Gellar

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The Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge is a refuge encompassing approximately 240,000 acres in 4 states: Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The refuge is unique in that it encompasses most of the river bottoms, from railroad track to railroad track. On the East side of the river, Illinois and Wisconsin, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe owns the railroad track and on the West side, Iowa and Minnesota, the Canadian Pacific owns the railroad track. Trespassing on RR track, like all private land is illegal, but historically the RR's have turned a blind eye to sportsmen and women accessing the UMWR. Hunters and anglers have been able to park on the side of the highway, walk across the approximately 50 yard RR and fish or hunt on the refuge. Recently BNSF has began to enforce trespassing making access to many areas of the refuge impossible by foot. Wisconsin Representative Lee Nerison has introduced a bill to allow sportsmen to access the refuge via foot across the RR track. The bill will not raise taxes or hinder anything except it will allow access to the refuge by foot. February 11, 2016 there will be hearing on AB 876. If you are a sportsmen who uses the Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge please consider phoning your representative in support of this bill. To view the bill please follow this link.

http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/related/proposals/ab876
 

hank4elk

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Seems reasonable to me as long as the RR xing safety issue is figured out.
I'll ask a friend who farms in the area about it.
 

mplane72

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Hope they pass it in Wisconsin. I haven't heard of any issues myself on the Iowa side. Wonder why the RR started caring about this?
 

Gellar

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Hope they pass it in Wisconsin. I haven't heard of any issues myself on the Iowa side. Wonder why the RR started caring about this?

There has been issues in the Lansing area in the past, but for the most part goes unscathed. I am guessing the increased attention from recent derailments and the hauling of oil from the Bakken Oil fields is a big reason why they have started to crack down.
 

duckhunt

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Newhartford Iowa
I believe its a different RR company on the Iowa side. As far as WI tracks are concerned I read that a girl was hit by a train while wearing headphones. She could not hear the train coming. Instead of fighting lawsuits they are keeping people off the tracks.
 

hank4elk

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I talked to my buddy and he says it is the BNSF issue with folks crossing the tracks and their trying to work on it he hears. He's north of there along the river.Farmer.
It is an issue with RR tracks ,Homeland Security & the liability issues the RR's now face.
I see tons of RR security in NM & AZ these days.
 

Gellar

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An update on this bill, it passed the assembly hearing and became senate bill 734. Unfortunately it has not been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate and will die if it is not scheduled by Tuesday March 1. Senator Van Wanggaard of Racine is the Chairman of the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee and has not scheduled the bill.
 

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