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Cherry Creek Road Project Makes Progress

Draft EA Open for Comment

The Yellowstone District of the US Forest Service has just released the Draft Environmental Assessment ("EA") for the construction of the "Cherry Creek Road" leading into the Deer Creek area of the forest south of Big Timber. Although the proposed road is only a mile and a half long, it is a big deal as it connects with the road being built by the landowner, opens up about 16,000 acres of the national forest, and has been in contention for over 17 years. The new route will be called West Deer Creek Road No. 421. If approved, construction will start this summer.

This has been a PLWA effort from the very beginning. But without the cooperation of the Forest Service and the adjacent landowners, Mr. Matelich and Mr. Goldberg, it would not have happened.

As District Ranger Sienkiewicz said "It just feels good to me when the public comes together to solve a public land problem with a public solution."

(For those readers not familiar with the term, an EA is a study required by federal law on all significant construction projects to establish all impacts - either positive or negative. It includes analysis of the technical environmental aspects, the economic impact and social results, and possible long term adverse environmental effects, even after mitigation. If warranted by the EA, a full blown Environmental Impact Statement ( "EIS") may be required.)

A copy of the draft EA is available upon request at the Yellowstone Ranger District, Big Timber Office, and on the Gallatin National Forest website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/gallatin/landmanagement/projects. Additional information on the project can be obtained from Barbara Ping, ID team leader, at 406-522-2558 or e-mail bping@fs.fed.us.

Comments on the proposal can be sent to Alex Sienkiewicz, Yellowstone District Ranger, by writing to: PO Box 1130, Big Timber, MT 59011; phoning 406-932-5155, faxing: 406-932-5777, or emailing: comments-northern-gallatin@fs.fed.us (put “Comments on West Deer Creek Road Project” in the subject line).

Click on Billings Gazette Article for an excellent summary.

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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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