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February 2013

In a not so surprising decision, the highest court in Montana has held for PLWA in a case where a landowner, Jones, used every legal and illegal maneuver to keep a public road closed - including tearing out a bridge. PLWA beat him in the Montana Supreme Court repeatedly, but he just keeps coming back with one illegal action after another, and one appeal after another. Finally, the court has, in effect, said enough is enough and sent the case back to District Court for final resolution of damages and court ordered action on the part of the landowner.

HISTORY - As readers and members are no doubt aware , the Boadle Road in Teton County has been an endless saga of the associated landowner, Jones, losing round after round in the courts and defying court rulings. The latest deal was that he tore out a bridge on a public right of way. PLWA went into action and sued for punitive damages, and reconstruction of the offending bridge.

In April of 2012, Judge Nels Swandal ruled that there was, in effect, no foul when Jones destroyed the bridge because the bridge was "personal property". PLWA strongly disagreed with this opinion . We do not see how any "improvement" permanently affixed to the surface of the earth could be deemed personal property, and what's more, how anyone could remove an improvement or bridge on a public right-of-way without the consent of the public - particularly when the Montana Supreme court had told him on two occasions to quit messing with the road and right-of-way.

In May of 2012, the decision was again appealed by PLWA to the Montana Supreme court. .As noted above, the high court threw out the Swandal decision in its entirety. The lower court now has some important decisions make. We anticipate a jury trial. .

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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


Boadle - No End to Obstruction

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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