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Cherry Creek Road - Sweetgrass Cty
16,000 acres of public land at risk

Cherry Creek Road - Sweetgrass County

Take Action to Oppose Landowner Proposal

Cherry Creek Road -


In the latest development on this road , the landowners are proposing what amounts to temporary restricted access on their terms. PLWA believes this is completely unacceptable. It would prevent most big game hunters from effectively hunting on the national forest, prevent the Forest Service from effectively doing their job, keep out all but the young and hearty, and completely eliminate the use by the handicapped.

The Cherry Creek Road nine miles south of Big Timber, east off of Highway 298, crosses about a quarter-mile of Lee Smoot's property and then three-quarters of a mile of George Matelich and Michael Goldberg's ranch before reaching the Gallatin National Forest boundary – and 16,000 acres of public land. (Matelich and Goldberg, as we understand it, are Wall Street executives.) Years of negotiations have failed to gain access and the Forest Service is pursuing an easement through using “eminent domain”.

In June of 2010 , Matelich , Goldberg, and Smoot proposed allowing foot, horse, and mountain bike travel on a permissive basis. Here is what they offer:

Matelich, Goldberg and Smoot proposal of June 2010


"Beginning June 30th 2010 the owners of Black Butte Ranch and the Smoot/Perkins properties are granting permission for access to the National Forest lands via foot, horse and mountain biking travel. you may access National Forest lands using the Cherry Creek trail after completing an access permission form at the trailhead. Limited parking will be available. No motorized travel beyond the parking area is permitted. The Cherry Creek access trail has been determined by the courts of Montana to be private property, this permission is granted by the property owners voluntarily and subject to certain restrictions, as follows:

• Complete a permission card with the names of those in your party, vehicle identification, and information about your use of the trail. So that we may know who is traveling across our property, please complete a permission card each time you use this access route.

• Please park only in the designated areas. Vehicles parked outside designated areas are subject to being towed or otherwise impounded, and the users may be refused future access via this route.

• This access route is available only for travel on foot, horseback or mountain bike. No motorized use is permitted.

• This access route is for use to access the National Forest lands only; no other uses, including picnicking, camping, cooking, target practice, hunting or fishing are permitted on the Black Butte Ranch or the Smoot/Perkins property. the National Forest boundaries are clearly marked and you are responsible for knowing whether you are on Forest lands or private lands.

• No open alcohol containers are permitted on this access route.

• Firearms must be unloaded and contained when transporting them across this access route.

• No fires or smoking are permitted on this access route.

Please be a good neighbor. Take nothing except memories; leave nothing except your footsteps. Pack your trash out, and take along any trash left by others.

Owners reserve the right to refuse access at any time.
Violations of the above conditions may result in revocation of permission to use this access route, and or criminal/civil action against violators."

End of Proposal

PLWA strongly opposes condoning that offer. We need the permanent access !


All of the information and addresses of the congressional delegation and Montana newspapers are listed on our website www.plwa.org . Look for the “Take Action” tab on the left.

Senator Max Baucus
511 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-2651
From Montana: (800) 332-6106
E-Mail: max@baucus.senate.gov
Website: baucus.senate.gov/

Senator Jon Tester
724 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-2604
(202) 224-2644
(202) 224-8594 (fax)
(866) 554-4403 (toll-free)
E-Mail: rjt@tester.senate.gov
Website: tester.senate.gov

Representative Dennis Rehberg
2448 Rayburn Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-3211
(202) 225-5687 (fax)
E-Mail: go to website
click on email

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Cherry Creek - Sweetgrass Cty.


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.
      PLWA.ORG   -   Public Land & Water Association