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Swimming Woman Road Settlement (2011)
County Successful

Swimming Woman Road - County Action Positive

This is very significant in that the County Commissioners are on our side. Stay tuned .

From the Harlowton Times Clarion - August 23, 2011 - The Contact there is Shirley Wagner 406-575-4431

Re: Recent Commissioners Meeting

The commissioners also discussed major damage on Swimming Woman Road.
County Commissioner Tony Zinne said he had met with Randy Waterman, who leases the Lazy S Ranch that the washed-out county road passes through, a representative of the management company for the Lazy S and a Forest Service official. They toured the area and discussed an alternate route on the west bench that would move the Swimming Woman Road from the bottom and end within walking distance of the Forest Service.

Commissioner Paugh, who oversees the north commission district, stated the commissioners could not consider the matter because there hasnít been a petition filed seeking road closure or moving the road. The interested parties have not come to the commission with their request. So at this time, he said, all the county can deal with is repairing the existing road.

The county has found documentation that in 1933 the landowners had sought and were given approval to establish a county road through the private property passed what was later the home of Guy Webber. The purpose of the road was stated to be to provide access to the forest reserve.

The engineer hired by the county had recommended that the first washed-out culvert on the road be replaced with a larger, squashed version to carry more water. To do that a flow study must be completed as to the effects downstream.

Further up the road a bridge washed out and the creek cut a new channel down the existing road for several hundred feet. The county discussed asking FEMA for approval of an alternate route rather than what would be a more costly return of the road to its natural state. Also, with the creek moved, other issue could come into play.

The county is looking at either moving the road to the west after the first culvert and away from the creek or alongside the previous road to the east, which could be vulnerable to future flooding.

County Attorney Kent Sipe advised the commissioners to stake out the new route deemed be the best and notify the landowner that the road would be changed. The owner could then meet with the commissioners at the next regular meeting if there are concerns. Sipe advised that the right-of-ways of record give the county the authority to continue to provide a road to the forest.

Commissioner Paugh, sheriff Fisher and the engineer were to visit the site Tuesday and ask the engineer to give his opinion as to the best route to take and also look at the flow issues for the new culvert.

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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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