There have been several news articles discussing the long-standing issue about access to the Crazy Mountains, both on the east side and on the West side. The Forest Service is looking into a solution to the conflict on the west side. Their possible solution is to locate the Porky Pine Lowline Trail No. 267 off of its current path in the foothills up onto public property. If this happens the old established trail would be abandoned. The Forest Service would then build the trail around the private property.

First. let us not forget that congressmen have for years been pressured by the rich to privatize public lands. The result is that funding for the Forest Service and BLM has been cut repeatedly by congress. Now the charge can be made that our forest managers are not doing a good job of managing our public lands. Thus the greedy are attempting to get control of our public lands. The Crazy Mountain issue is another assault on our public land rights.

Second. The Forest Service has no money. What budget they have has been decimated by firefighting costs. To even think of moving that trail knowing that it may not be built for years, if ever, is absurd.

Third. Statements that have been made about the moderate terrain where the trail is proposed to be built is questionable. A look at the area on google seems to indicate that parts of the trail will be steep in places, both up and down, making access difficult.

Fourth, this access is not going to be shorter as some have stated. The current trail is about 6 miles long according to a Montana Wildlife Federation representative. MFW also indicated that the new trail will be shorter. Forest serve documents indicate that the new trail will be longer. According to the Forest Service, the proposal would require construction of about eight miles of new nonmotorized trail at a cost of $140,000 to $180,000. This is a waste of public money.

This issue should be settled in court. Brad Wilson, a Wilsall resident, said it best in a recent guest editorial published in The Montana Standard: “Just as no one expects a private landowner to give up their historic water rights, the public landowners should not relinquish our deeded and historic prescriptive access rights without a fight.”

On March 13th, there will be a meeting in Livingston hosted by Friends of the Crazy Mountains, and Enhancing Montana’s Wildlife at 6 PM at the Yellowstone Pioneer Lodge, Yellowstone Conference Room, 1515 West Park Street. This will provide an opportunity for the public to get in-depth information about the Crazy Mountain situation from local people other than those who are recommending the trail be moved.

Event contact: Kathryn 406-579-748. For more information contact Brad Wilson, FOCM, friendsofthecrazymountains@gmail.com

Harold Johns of Butte is a member of the Skyline Sportmen's Association and a lifelong outdoorsman.

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