Old County Road No. 380 - "Salmond Ranch Road "
PLWA, has been very involved with this . John Gibson and folks from the Russell Country Sportsmen, have made several trips to the location. It is a very complicated situation in that there are several roads involved all with somewhat different status. Tim Callahan, a former local from the area. and now a Seattle attorney, has been a great resource. We owe him much for his dedicated professional efforts. Without him, this situation would have likely just been passed over by the county commissioners, and the Goldman Sachs money allowed to prevail. We are up against billionaires literally all the time.
Quote from Great Falls Tribune Story "Teton County set for fight over county road"
" On June 2, 1930, the three members of the Teton County Commission met in an afternoon session to discuss the fate of a country road about 20 miles west of Choteau along the Rocky Mountain Front.
Now, more than eight decades later, a legal battle is brewing over the decision the commissioners made that day: to vacate the road on the condition that the landowner, Frank Salmond, provide a public right-of-way to state lands.
The renewed fight over the approximately four-mile section of right-of-way much of which is barely visible after nearly eight decades of little-to-no use is a thorny and complicated issue pitting the public's right to access public lands against property rights and swirling it together with concerns about wildlife, weeds and land conservation.
Throw in a proposed federal bill that would add some 67,000 acres of new wilderness to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex and you've got an issue ripe for heated debate in western Teton County. "
March 2013 Development
State of Montana Steps In !
Salmond Ranch Road - Key Access to Rocky Mountain Front
The Salmond Ranch road or Teton county road 380 goes up the Deep Creek drainage and connects to trails into the Rocky Mountain Front . It is one of the few access points into the front between Augusta and Glacier Park. The initial portion of the 3 mile road goes through the Salmond Ranch, then through the school sections which abut BLM and National Forest land . (It is open only for foot and horse travel on the federal land . There is no conflict with the Rocky Mountain Heritage act pending in congress because the road itself does enter federal land.)
In 1930 the county abandoned a portion road going thru the private sections with the agreement that they did hot abandon the right of way itself.
In 1988, the Salmonds locked the gate and filed "a legal notice to all the world" that any public rights to cross the land had been unilaterally terminated by them .
After public outcry on the issue, Salmonds filed court action in October of 2012 hoping to validate their position . In response, the state Department of Natural Resources and the State Land Board filed papers on March 1, 2013 with documentary evidence showing the right of way had not been abandoned. (In a separate action, Randy Knowles , a private citizen from Great Falls alleges that " the DNRC, State Land Board and Teton County breached their duty as trustees to protect the rights of Montana residents to the enjoyment of land entrusted to their care." )
It is great to have the State for an ally on this case. In the past we have not always enjoyed such cooperation - from either Montana or Federal agencies. As President John Gibson said in the past "I am getting tired of it .............They are letting someone else do their work for them. They have the legal equipment, the money and everything they need to challenge this." So, we welcome this recent action by the state and thank them for it.