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Cherry Creek Road - Sweetgrass Cty
16,000 acres of public land at risk
SETTLEMENT ON CHERRY CREEK ROADYEARS OF PLWA EFFORT PAY OFF
JUNE 2013 -SETTLEMENT REACHED ON
"CHERRY CREEK" ROAD
YEARS OF PLWA EFFORT PAY OFF
OUTSTANDING COOPERATION BY
FOREST SERVICE AND LANDOWNERS
After years of negotiations, legal action , and public comment, settlement has been reached on regaining permanent access via a new public access route to National Forest System lands in the Cherry Creek area, south of Big Timber, Montana.
The landowners Mr. George Matelich and Mr. Michael Goldberg have reached an agreement with the USDA Forest Service to jointly construct a new road approximately ten miles south of Big Timber that will provide permanent public access from State Highway 298 to NFS lands . This will open up about 16,000 acres of public land heretofore only accessible a long, challenging foot, horseback, or motorcycle trail from the East side of the divide .
The planned road will be identified as West Deer Creek Road No. 421. Access will include reasonable public motorized use. Construction standards will be sufficient to accommodate year-round truck and stock trailer use.
The landowners will build the first portion of the new road across their land. When the road is complete to agreed-upon standards across the private land, Mr. Matelich and Mr. Goldberg will grant and donate an easement for the constructed road to the United States.
If public scoping and environmental review support the proposed work, the Forest Service will continue building the new road as it enters the national forest and will tie the new road into the existing Forest Service road system .
The landowners and the Forest Service are committed to completing construction and recording the road easement in a timely manner.
The new road will not be available for public use until construction on both private and public land is totally complete. Upon completion , the Forest Service will notify the public and the landowners will close the old road across private property to public use.
The Forest Service will be responsible for management and maintenance of the entire new road.
For more information: contact Yellowstone District Ranger Alex Sienkiewicz, at 406-932-5155.
Comment from PLWA President John Gibson
"As President and Vice President of the Public Land and Water Access Association, Bernard Lea and I go back some thirteen years on the Cherry Creek access south of Big Timber. We filed suit when the Cherry Creek Road was first closed to the public. Later we had to agree to a deal because we did not have the funds to continue our lawsuit.The landowner offered to leave the road open for ten years and pay our court costs if we would drop the law suit. Our lawyer recommended that we accept that proposal.
Since then, the Forest Service, under the leadership of Supervisor Mary Erickson and Lands Staff Bob Denee have found a way to gain access to the 16,000 acres of National Forest land behind the closure. They deserve much credit for working out the details that will allow the public to once again access this special place. But we also must thank the landowners, Mr. Matelich and Mr. Goldberg for spending the time and money to reopen this access ."
External Article / Resource
Cherry Creek - Sweetgrass Cty.
Cherry Creek Closure