Big Timber, Montana - On Wednesday, July 15, at 9:00 a.m. the gate barring public access to the West Deer Creek area of the Custer-Gallatin National Forest south of Big Timber swung open - thus restoring road access to more than 16,000 acres of public lands. PLWA played a key role in early efforts to keep public access to this area.The gate is across a newly constructed bypass road named "West Deer Creek Road" (Forest Road #421, known locally as the Cherry Creek access). The new road provides a permanent public route on the Yellowstone Ranger District by replacing part of the old, now-private Cherry Creek Road.Last fall, the Forest Service and two landowners reached a joint agreement for a permanent public access easement across the West Deer Creek Road. ... (more)
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INTERESTING DETAILS ON SPECIFIC ACCESS ISSUES CAN BE OBTAINED BY CLICKING ON THE LOCATION BUBBLES OR "PINS" ABOVE. JUST TRY IT !
The idea has been around for a while now, dating back to the Nevada-based Sage Brush Rebellion of the 1980s. Like a lot of bad ideas, it can be dressed up to look good at first glance: Get those vast, "mismanaged" tracts of western public land out of the hands of the distant, incompetent federal government and into the hands of people who know how to use it right. However, in its current iteration the push to disburse these federal lands represents a greater threat to the future of American hunting than anything the anti-hunters could have come up with in their wildest dreams. ... (more)
It doesn't take much for certain groups and individuals to jump on the “Fantasy Wagon”. Like with so many of these situations, some believe the fantasy and others use it for political advantage. Does anyone really think the citizens of the United States, who own these lands, are going to allow a small state like Montana to take control of a huge chunk of their National Forest and other public ;property? ... (more)
Unwise suggestion To recent news articles advocating state takeover of public land, the only phrase that applies is “horse pucky.” Many groups have been involved in this issue since former secretaries of the Interior James Watt and Gayle Norton inspired the “Sagebrush Rebellion” more than two decades ago. Turning over our public land didn’t happen then, and it won’t happen now. ... (more)
John GibsonPLWA PresidentI am disturbed by the Wilks brothers’ coercive tactics to gain ownership of the Durfee Hills.No state or federal agency, including the BLM, should negotiate with a gun at its head. The Wilks brothers have no apparent reason to block access to 50,000 acres of public land with armed guards on the Bullwacker Road other than to coerce the BLM into giving up public ownership of the Durfee Hills. ... (more)
public land news
Bullwhacker Road - Big Development ( 10/30/2014 )
BLM Press Release - September 26, 2014 BLM starts process to restore Bullwhacker access with by-pass (LEWISTOWN, Mont.) - The Bureau of Land Management announced today, it has begun the process required to reestablish road access into the Bullwhacker Coulee area of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.
Modesty Gulch Road - Major Victory ( 10/07/2014 )
Butte Montana -Tuesday - October 7, 2014 . In the latest episode of a long running dispute, Butte District Judge Kurt Krueger found that roads leading to both the lower and upper branches of the Modesty Road remain "dedicated to public use.
Sand In The Wheels of Justice ( 09/09/2014 )
Here we go again. After 10 years of litigation , and a clear decision by the Montana Supreme Court , that Montanan's have right to access rivers and streams from public roads, Madison county has thrown some sand in wheels of justice.
Boadle Road - Victory Over Arrogance ( 07/01/2014 )
After fourteen years PLWA found itself in court in Choteau Montana on June 16, 2014. The Boadle Road had been closed that long ago by a new owner even after being told that the road had been used as a public road for nearly a hundred years.
know your rights
Caveat and Disclaimer ( 11/28/2008 )
Information on this site is provided as a matter of information and education only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or counsel .
WHAT IS A PUBLIC ROAD ? ( 12/16/2007 )
If you encounter a closed road or trail ( which is obviously not a federal highway , a state highway, or a city street ) and you believe it may be a legally accessible road, here are some things you can do to check it out :FIRST, is it in a National Forest ? If so check with the Regional Forester office to see if a private easement or fee tile exists.
Updated June 1,2013Efforts underway since 2006 to acquire 5 miles of railroad right-of-way stretching west from Ringling along Sixteen mile Creek, and accessing an otherwise isolated section of DNRC land for another mile, are now nearing conclusion.
Educating and informing the public on their ownership and access rights.
Monitoring public access routes and identifying access problems.
Initiating legal action when access has been illegally blocked.
Monitoring public land sales exchanges, and purchases to insure that no transfers are made without full consideration of conservation and recreational values.
Initiating programs and policies to expand public land and water access.
Pursuing every legal and ethical avenue to protect and maintain your access to public lands and waters.
What can PLWA Do For You?
Primarily we help hunters, anglers, and other recreationists fight back against the tide of privatization of public land and waters. Montana is changing and part of this change comes from outside interests who think they can grab “ownership” of a river or public land with "No Trespassing" signs, orange paint, barb wire, chains, lawsuits, legislation and other tactics. It takes an organization with “pit bull” mentality like PLWA to deal with these situations. In many cases we are the ones who initiate appropriate legal action and are on the firing line.
PLWA is an all volunteer organization with little overhead. Your donations are almost totally used to press the issue of maintaining access. Member contributions are our only source of income. Usually the deep pockets are on the other side.
We hope you'll take a moment today to join us in our mission to retain the traditional value of access to the public landscapes which make Montana such a special place.
Public Land/Water Access Association Inc. or PLWA, is a citizen group organized and operated under the Montana nonprofit corporation act.
Articles and Information on this site represent the opinion of the writer and are not intended as legal advice. Legal counsel may be needed in dealing with specific access situations and issues.