An open letter to James Kennedy

Mr. James Cox Kennedy,

If you will, I would like to speak on behalf of the non-gluttonous majority in light of the major decision rendered by the Montana Supreme Court last week.

The 1985 stream access law was upheld, ending your decade-long attack on humanity with you coming out as the clear loser in the case.

Even though Forbes Magazine calls you one of the top 50 richest people in the United States, you no longer have the power keep us poor folks from floating, fishing or wading past your mansion on the Ruby River.

As a preschooler might tell you, na-na na-na boo-boo. Ha-ha, you lose. The good guys won, and we hope your loss stings like an infected cut from the barbed wire fence you put up because you think you can actually own the Ruby River.

We hope you received the bad news from Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman because that’s what happens when a sorry billionaire tries to steal Montana.

Those fences, by the way, weren’t that tough to get over. Those warning signs you posted weren’t nearly enough to intimidate a true Montanan. We scoffed at your electrified fences.

It was bad enough to be so delusional to think you can own river. Trying to keep people off that river qualifies you as movie villain evil.

It is mildly surprising that you let the fish swim through your precious property.

It would not be shocking to hear that you tried to have the river stocked with sharks with lasers shooting from their foreheads.

Actually, Dr. Evil wouldn’t have been mean enough to try to keep people from using a river. The bad guys in the Die Hard movies would be shocked at your behavior.

Mr. Grinch wouldn’t touch you with a 39 and a half foot poll.

You make the self-indulgent clown who paid $350,000 to shoot an endangered black rhino look like a guy in touch with reality.

You are like the “get off my lawn” old man, only a billion times worse. Just like the kids playing ball won’t ruin your grass, the sportsmen using the water of Mother Earth will not tarnish your view in the beautiful Ruby Valley.

At least the curmudgeon who doesn’t want kids on his grass actually had something to do with making the grass looking nice.

Actually, who are we kidding? You probably think you are responsible for beauty of the river meandering through the valley.

The only thing you are really responsible for, though, is wasting a lot of time and ruining Sunday afternoons for sportsmen who actually value the river more than you could possibly could pretend.

Thanks to the Montana Supreme Court, those days are over.

Now may you go to bed each night with thoughts of freedom warriors like Pat Ryan and Tom Malloy — shirtless and casting a line in plain view of your picture window — dancing through your head.

Money might be able to rent you happiness, but that is a thought that will surely haunt your dreams like Clark Griswold watching cousin Eddie emptying his septic tank.

When the Supreme Court justices rightly agreed with the rest of the right-thinking people of the world last week and ruled that you are in the wrong, we couldn’t help but giggle uncontrollably.

Now you have to take down the barbed wire, and the flood gates will be open. With any luck the summer of 2014 will see the Ruby River turn into the swimming pool when the caddies took over on Cadyshack.

Take a good look at us through your picture window as we go by because we’ll be easy to spot.

We’ll be the ones with our thumbs on our ears and our fingers waving as we yell “na-na na-na boo-boo.”



—Bill Foley, who also can’t get the thought of Malloy and Ryan out of his head, writes a column that appears on on Tuesdays. Email him at Follow him at 8 comments

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  • Fraser MacDonald
    January 21, 2014, 8:03 am

    Sounds like Mr Kennedy has followed the path of Hank Williams JR.
    who believed that Montana was so lucky he lived here,he should pay no taxes!!
    Tom Brokaw fits in there someplace as well!

  • Alan D
    January 21, 2014, 10:31 am

    Brilliant stuff, send Dr. Doosh (didn’t know if real spelling would be edited out) a copy of the link!

  • PR
    January 21, 2014, 1:54 pm

    Me and Malloy fishing topless? Neither of our wives would have put up with that. Freedom warriors? Sounds a little lofty. I’m glad the good guys won, however.

  • Ahoy
    January 21, 2014, 9:07 pm

    The Ruby River was originally named the Philanthropy River by the Bill and Merri Expedition in 1805. As they also named the Wisdom River, now the Big Hole. These two rivers were named in honor of the qualities of President Thomas Jefferson, which was the main middle fork, the Jefferson River. Wisdom and Philanthropy. Hunh. Go figger’.

    And now, Mr. Cox-Kennedy has repeatedly demonstrated he possesses neither of these qualities. Nor does he possess any of the rivers in Montana. Thank You Montana Supreme Court Justices.

    Mr. Kennedy, Thank You very much for the improvements you’ve made to stabilizing the banks and vegetation of the Ruby River. It is truly substantial. Unfortunately, I can’t help but believe it was for your own personal gain and greed as you continue to sell guided hunting and fishing trips out of your “Exclusive” Crane Meadow Lodge on the banks of the Ruby. Although “access” is allowed, it comes at the exorbitant prices you decide to charge for a day of “access”. Most Montanans can not afford $500 per day per fisherman, just to catch a couple of fish. I’m guessing that may come as a surprise to you.

    Your Crane Meadow Lodge web site today states, “Within the borders of the 8,000 acre Ranch adjacent to the Lodge and several other properties that we lease for the exclusive use of our guests, we believe that our guests do not have to speculate about how things used to be.”

    Sorry Bubba, it ain’t exclusive anymore. Never was. Except for your lame attempts to fence out we the People of Montana.

    Like Foley, I’m hoping every man, woman and child in Montana shows up on “your exclusive” Ruby River. So if everybody has access, who’s excluded ? NOBODY. Let’s Fish !

    Thanks to Tony Schoonen and all of his friends for keeping up the good fight. Thanks to the staff and attorneys of the Public Lands Access Association and all of its contributors.
    Congratulations ! We’ve Won !

    By the bye, the Crane Meadow Lodge web site also states for “Trophy Whitetail Hunting”, “More information on our deer herd and this limited hunt is available upon request.” It’s NOT your deer herd. The deer are the property of the people of the State of Montana. As are the fish, and the ducks and the geese.

    A Special Thanks goes to Mrs. Ahoy for enduring both protest Ruby River Floats in 2005 and again in 2013.
    Thanks Trixie, you are a true Butte Rat.

    In 1805, we had Philanthropy. Look it up.

    As we’ve already successfully demonstrated, . . .
    We’ve got Extension Ladders, and we’re not afraid to use ’em.

    Fish the Ruby in 2014 !
    See ya’s at the Blue Anchor.


  • MTProud
    January 22, 2014, 9:36 am

    My question is when will Mr. Kennedy be paying back the tax payers for his decade court battle..

    • Gabby Johnson@MTProud
      November 12, 2015, 6:51 am

      Oh he will pay, perhaps not in terms of his precious, precious money.
      But think of the cost on Mr. Kennedy’s psyche of just the possibility that on any given morning his billion-dollar viewshed will include the shirtless bodies of the PR/Malloy tag-team of justice reveling in their enjoyment of the free-flowing Ruby!
      That image will serve as a warning as powerful as 3-7-77 of the cost of ignoring Code of the West in Montana.


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