Ryan Weiss was hired as the Public Access Specialist for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, a new position created by Governor Steve Bullock to lead public-access acquisition and enhancement initiatives for state and federal lands. Weiss previously worked on land use and water resource issues in northern New Mexico for the U.S. Forest Service, the State of New Mexico, Tribal Government and environmental consulting firms. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and two masters’ degrees from the University of New Mexico in community and regional planning and water resources.
As Public Access Specialist, Weiss will identify and develop projects that increase access to public lands in Montana through collaborating with private landowners, local governments, federal agencies and other stakeholders. The position is responsible for:
1. Identifying and pursuing opportunities to increase public access to large holdings of public lands.
2. Fielding complaints from outdoor recreationists when public access is being restricted and developing new access agreements between federal and state agencies and private landowners.
3. Conducting a comprehensive inventory of public lands that do not have legal public access in order to identify and prioritize high-value projects.
4. Bringing together private landowners, state and federal land managers to facilitate public access solutions across the state.