I cannot agree more! Here in GA, it seems it's an us vs. them attitude and it keeps many a great partnership from every happening. Sportsfolks need to respect private property, no matter how much they'd like to fish that creek on posted land - and property owners who have great fishing on large enough rivers to warrant it, should at least consider letting anglers have access. Generally, I side with the private property owners and can't really blame them for posting their land because of the way others treat the privileged of using it( usually poorly), but there's something to be said for building bridges between land owners and the sporting public. If only more people were like you, Damsel and kept that in mind.
I've been fishing for a lot of years. One thing my mentor taught me was, it never hurts to stop and ask. The worse that can happen is you are told no. I used to fish a lot of private property that was posted. Never got turned down. I even had one old farmer join me on the water and then a fish dinner afterwards.
There are some real truths in what you both are saying...I'm part of the Utah Fly Fishing Club, which has a "Clean and Cast" day once a month. As we clean riverbeds and "accessible" areas of trash and debris, I think that people are interested in what we are doing and why we are doing it. In fact, I have talked to a landowner nearby that was surprised that we would take on this act of service...It's just part of conservation and beautifying the waters that we all enjoy so much. I believe that it will open up avenues for more access as we put a good foot forward. (And its fun too...we fish together afterwards!)
It's too bad that the negative actions of just one or two people can affect so many others and I am always pleased to see groups getting together and working with property owners to keep access open.My employers used to allow others to use the property but that changed and now I spend a lot of time maintaining signs and doing enforcement. The property is not posted because the owners are selfish or stuck up. It's due to abuse of trust and lack of respect. There is also the issue of liabilty and the eagerness of some people to sue. It is easier and safer to "dis-invite" people through posting.Honesty, trust and respect go a long way in all sorts of situations.