The RS2477 Threat

Lands at Risk

Threats to
Private Property



Act Now!




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Natural treasures are at risk from bogus road claims in Montana.

On the Flathead National Forest, counties and motorized user groups sued the Forest Service in June 2003 challenging vehicle route closures, arguing that RS 2477 gives the county, not the Forest Service, control of the routes. Forest Service route closures are usually adopted to protect watersheds, wildlife (including grizzly bears, which are especially sensitive to disturbance by motor vehicles), and scarce taxpayer funds. Conservation groups have intervened in the lawsuit to ensure no ‘sweet deals’ are cut that would reverse the route closures by granting bogus RS 2477 claims.

In the Gravelly Range, the Bureau of Land Management has proposed opening a vehicle route inside a wilderness study area (WSA), in response to a threatened RS 2477 lawsuit by the local county. The vehicle route would essentially cut the WSA in half. Read more about the controversy in the February 9, 2003, Bozeman Chronicle.

2006:  Jefferson County, Montana, on the east side of the continental divide between Butte and Helena, has asserted control of all routes in the county on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and nearby BLM land. The assertion appears aimed at challenging some route closures in the area. The Forest Service says it is willing to talk.  Read a February 3, 2006 article from the Helena Independent Record.

2007: The Jefferson County Commission claims private interests are entitled to use U.S. Forest Service access roads that were closed in 2002 as the result of an environmental analysis. The County intends to inventory the roads and to stake its claims on them using RS 2477. Read a related March 3, 2007 article from the Helena Independent Record.  Read the draft resolution presented to the County Commission for approval.

Taking its cues from Jefferson County, now the Mineral County Commission will likely stake its RS 2477 claims on an old Forest Service route system. Read a March 14, 2007 article from the Clark Fork Chronicle about Mineral County’s aggressive approach to gain maintenance rights to access roads before the routes are decommissioned in the new forest plan.

Read an April 4, 2007 article from the Clark Fork Chronicle that follows up on Mineral County's RS 2477 claims. The Commission's process is transformed into a road-by-road review now that it is confronted with the complications of its aggressive initial approach.

Other News:

The Blaine County Attorney Donald Ranstrom determined Bullwhacker road, which crosses private land, is public using R.S. 2477 to stake his claim. Read an October 21, 2007 article to learn more.


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