Letter: Stockmen's Association shouldn't pursue posting law
I feel I need to write this letter because of a mistake I made at the North Dakota Stockmen's Association Convention in September. The leadership of the NDSA has tried for several years to pass legislation that would make all land in North Dakota considered as posted for no trespassing. This bill has been defeated every time.
At the convention a resolution was brought to the policy meeting for discussion and a vote. The resolution was that the NDSA take the lead to identify other organizations, companies and individuals who may support legal action to get all land considered posted. I apologize to those present for not speaking against it at that time. As one member said, we gave the directors a clear mandate to move forward with the resolution.
The legislature passed several trespassing bills this last session which make posting easier and prosecuting trespassers quicker and easier..
I am a past member of the North Dakota Beef Commission and have been a member of the NDSA for many years. I have always been proud of our policy of trying to be independent and free of government controls. With the present policies on trespassing and posting, I am free of government control, but with the posting law wanted by the NDSA leadership, I will be forced by law to consider all my land posted. Upon reading the policies of the North Dakota Farm Bureau leadership, I see they are also strongly in favor of all land posted.
My family's land is scattered out over 40 miles, and a few pieces are posted by family members, but the large majority is open for any legal activities such as hunting, fishing, snowmobiling or hiking. I enjoy sharing all I have been blessed with and don't want to require people to try and locate me to ask for permission. Also, I would lie awake worrying whether or not I had warned everyone who contacted me of any obstacles that might cause them harm.
I know there are people damaging property, but this resolution will not change that. You can't fix stupid.
I did suggest to the NDSA Board that the Legislature might approve that all active pasture land be automatically posted.
I believe a lot of hunters who only have weekends to get out and hunt will just quit hunting. Many of them do not have the time to locate and get permission from the landowners, many of whom live out of state.
A few days ago, I had some extra time in Fargo, so I decided to stop by a few commodity organizations and ask their opinions on the NDSA resolution. I stopped for lunch at Sandy's Donuts, a great place near Stockmen's Supply in West Fargo. As I was eating I was asking myself — why I was working on this? Right there on the wall was my answer ... "UNLESS someone like YOU cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." (Dr. Seuss)
Editor's note: Thorsgard lives in Northwood, N.D.