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Wise Lane is an official county road leading to the north bank of the Yellowstone River between Billings and Laurel. In addition to leading to the river, PLWA research indicates it also leads to an important public island at that point. The road was created when “Petitioned” by citizens in the early part of the last century. Sadly, it was unilaterally closed by the adjacent landowner in the 1980’s.

PLWA had been unsuccessfully talking with the Yellowstone County Commissioners for years on this issue. However, in 2010 PLWA took direct action to again notify the commissioners of the continued closure and demand action. Finally, in a meeting with the Commissioners in early November of 2010, the Commissioners agreed there was no doubt that the road was an illegally blocked, official county road. They intend to enforce the decision with a court injunction if necessary.

While this specific access point is significant, the principle and precedence may be of greater significance in the long run. County commission compliance and cooperation on these types of closures has been very spotty throughout the state. They usually have to be drug screaming and kicking, sometimes with a lawsuit, to comply. Thus, the action of the Yellowstone County Commissioners to disallow illegal and unilateral closing of county roads is an important progress milestone.

They further indicated they would erect a safety barrier at the end of the road together with a widening as necessary to allow vehicle turn around. The Billings Rod and Gun Club will cover a portion of the expense to build a walk-thru as part of the barrier and explore options to facilitate entry of light watercraft at that point.

Many thanks to PLWA Director George Bauer from Livingston Mt, whose diligent research and effort spearheaded the latest effort.

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Ruby River Stream Access Victory
( 07/01/2016 )   7/1/2016PLWA, once again, has been victorious in the battle for the public's stream access on the Ruby River, from the Seyler Lane Bridge, likely the original stagecoach route from Salt Lake City, north to Virginia City and Helena.It has been over a decade that PLWA (formerly known as PLAAI) has been involved in a lawsuit over public access to the Ruby River from Seyler Lane and the Seyler Bridge, a public prescriptive easement right-of-way in Madison County.

"Dark Money" Brought to Light
( 07/01/2016 )   The June-July, Newscasts section of Fly Fisherman reported on the recent investigation by Montana's Commissioner of Political Practices, Jonathan Motl, into a dark money campaign that could overturn Montana's Stream Access.Fly Fisherman recounted the Montana Growth Network's campaign contributions to District Judge Laurie McKinnon's run for our Montana Supreme Court.

public land issues

Seyler Lane Update
9/24/2015Seyler Bridge Easement - More Than Just RecreationUpdate - Kennedys attorney requested a postponement of the September 21 hearing.

Tenderfoot - Four Years and Counting
9/24/2015Tenderfoot Creek is a tributary of the Smith River, joining the Smith a mile or so north of Camp Baker.

    18 more public land issues

Wise Lane

Wise Lane Before - 1/2 mile from Yellowstone

Walk Thru 25 yards from Yellowstone

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.
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