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  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnCushman View Post
    Rob... Are you still having legal expenses going forward with this? If so, could you post up your gofundme page again? I'd like to contribute.
    This is a different trail. I'm fully in support of resolving the issues on the trail where he got cited though.

  2. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdunc8 View Post
    This is a different trail. I'm fully in support of resolving the issues on the trail where he got cited though.
    Ahh, ok. I'd still like to help if need be
    I'm an addict...archery, rifles, shotguns, handguns, muzzleloaders, hunting, fishing, fly fishing..and I don't want rehab

    CWEH...Colorado's Worst Elk Hunter 2007-2017 (but I'm still damned sexy) 10 years of consistency!! Taking 2018 off

  3. #78
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    Aug 2015
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    Southwest of Helena, MT
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    Very informative conversation, I really appreciate the exchange of facts rather than making baseless hyperbolic remarks (even though there is some of that).

    I'm a firm believer in private property rights but I don't support a private property owner who believes that they can block public roads. If you buy a piece of land with a public road on it then you have no right to block that road. Unfortunately it seems that all a land owner has to do is say that the road isn't public (even if it's been used for the last 100 years by the public) and that triggers the need for the court to decide the issue. Even then I don't understand why the issue is so difficult to resolve, if a judge has statements from a reasonable number of responsible authorities stating that a road is known to be a public road then I'd think that it's pretty obvious that the road is public.

    On the other hand, if the road has always been gated and the owner simply allowed people to cross by keeping his gate unlocked then I'd say that the road wasn't ever public and it's up to the owner to decide how it's to be used.

    In regards to alternate routes, I'd rather negotiate an agreement between the stake holders than go to court. I don't see any benefit to just forcing your will on a land owner, forcing someone to conform to a mob's opinion isn't the point of the argument. Even if it seems obvious that you could win litigation I don't see where it's worth the time and money if there is a reasonable alternative. I do see the point about an alternate route disturbing the elk and driving them on to the private land but I'd like to see more proof of that being a real possibility, just taking a layperson's word that it will happen isn't really enough reason to not use the alternate route. If I had a Forest Service report that said that there is a strong possibility that this will happen then I'd be a lot less comfortable with the new route. Personally I don't see where the elk would prefer open, flatter private land to rougher, forested public land. I understand that they will move to safer places when the hunting pressure increases but elk don't make logical decisions based on their knowledge of who owns the land, they make decisions based on their instinct and experience and elk always move toward rough, forested country for security, if the private land is more secure then that's where they will go, but from what I see on the maps it looks like there is a better chance that most of the elk will move toward the public land.

    Regardless, if the wording of the negotiated agreement for the new route didn't prevent it then I don't see why you couldn't pursue litigation later to prove that the road is a public road. If the litigation were successful then simply close the new route and push the traffic back to the public road.
    Last edited by rammac; 03-22-2018 at 07:19 PM.

  4. #79

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    Working as a land surveyor on a lot of linear projects, I have done quite a bit of a deed and chain of title research. The document Kat posted in post number 50, in my opinion, is too vague to know at face value what trail is being talked about. That is not to say that additional information, perhaps a legal description, could not be found with additional digging. I have not had time to look into what she posted about the railroad grant, perhaps it is in there.
    But the language in post 50 underlined in red by itself will not get you there. It is interesting language. Often you will see a very vague catchall statement about entitlements, encumbrances, easements, and other rights as a way for the grantor of a warranty deed to say in a way ‘just in case these things i don’t know about exist, their rights are conveyed with the lroperty’ . Or you will see specific encumbrances, in this case a trail easement mentioned, but they will usually reference another document that you can pull and it will give you the specifics on said encumbrance.

    The wording in red is kind of a hybrid of the two and is rather peculiar in my opinion.


    Rob, have you considered talking to someone like the regional chief cadastral surveyor? He can’t and won’t offer you legal advice but should be a subject matter expert and could offer you his opinion and understanding of some of this wording.

    I understand you’re an engineer. Perhaps you have an experienced PLS at your office?
    Surveyors can only locate the physical location of something, and offer an opinion, while legal determinations obviously are left to the courts, but they may be a source of FREE knowledge or advice (as opposed to an attorney they will talk to you for 30 minutes without a retainer.)
    ďTo me, if you donít eat it, then itís not a point of prideĒ. -Matt Rinella

  5. #80
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    I went to the EQC meeting involving this subject earlier, that had been requested by John Brenden, Chuck Rein's brother-in-law. Rein was also there and made a public comment.

    Terry Anderson, from PERC, was there on video conference. He stated, concerning the Crazy Mountains, that he counted 13 trailheads into the Crazies, asking again the question, "How much is enough". When I made my public comment, I adressed this, stating that while the Forest Service had a number of trailheads on the map, that a number of those trailheads, with their signage and visitor sign in logs had been removed by private landowners and replaced with their own private property signs, stating people needed to ask landowner permission or sign in.


    Quote Originally Posted by RobG View Post
    I believe at your meeting Bernie Lea, president of PLWA, said we should explore an alternative solution. He certainly said that at the working group meeting while sitting next to you, and in a follow up email where you were copied. Dale Spartas, former board member of PLWA has been public about his support for exploring an alternative solution. There were other PLWA members there...

    MWF, RMEF, Mountain Mommas, myself and even Don Thomas (and others) recently penned an editorial saying (When it is printed I will link to it.)
    [B]...but what you really need to do is convince a LAWYER that you have a case, not the public.

    ...At this time you do not have the backing of any lawyer, or PLWA. ... I believe nothing is stopping you from filing one right now.
    Rob, Bernard Lea is just one of the PLWA Board of Directors. While Bernard has been vocal about his opinion on the west side of the Crazies and this Porcupine Lowline Trail, there are other PLWA board members who have opposed this position, Tony Schoonen, for one (who sent written copies of his position to the meeting, including a statement about filing a lawsuit against the landowners that are illegally blocking the existing trails). To my knowledge, as of a half hour ago, PLWA has not legally met as a board, taken a vote on this subject. Until such time, Bernard's opinion is just that, Bernard's opinion.

    Aside from PLWA Director Lou Goosey, none of them have been on this trail. Dale Spartas, who did not answer that he has been on this trail, is no longer a director, he resigned after one year of a 3 year term. He is simply a member at this point. While Dale owns some property with a rental cabin, just a bit southeast of the southeastern corner of the Crazies, on the Yellowstone River, and is welcome to any opinion he may decide upon, he has not brought any facts to the table. I was surprised that he introduced himself at the meeting as a previous PLWA board member, instead of his cabin ownership, fishing guide and photography business that also photographs private landowners lands and hunts. I would think the business interests would be more relevant than a general PLWA membership, as to why he was invited to the "private" meeting.

    When Dale asked at the meeting, how far you would have to go to get onto public land to hunt, I zoomed into the map and showed the Porcupine Lowline Cabin (parking area) and trailhead (4N 10E Sec. 10), pointing out the public land to public land corner overlap, leading into a ton of contiguous public lands, he was unaware of it. Once you park, it is approx. .77 mile from the parking area to the overlap.

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    But while you bring up the Jan. 31st meeting, PLWA Vice-President John Gibson, also retired Forest Service, was also there and John Gibson did not endorse the proposal, in fact, he passionately spoke about the landowners, of which Zimmerman is one, that tried to get Yellowstone DIstrict Ranger Alex Sienkiewicz fired. He spoke about the politics that were going after public access. He spoke about the importance of historical prescriptive easements and litigation.

    While Lighthiser (Montana Mountain Mamas as well) supports this and may work for PCEC, having heard that Park County Environmental Council board did not endorse this Porcupine Trail Relocation, I called the President, Nelson King just a bit ago. He stated that they have not made a board decision to endorse this trail relocation. King stated they are looking at the process, information and other alternatives. King was at our public meeting the other night.

    I think it goes without saying, but you are not knowledgeable of my discussions with any attorneys, nor all the PLWA Board members positions on this relocation proposal.

    I do not make my decisions based on the majority opinion, nor am I intimidated if the majority holds a different opinion. I look into science, law and facts, just as I have for years, like FS 166B Road, Durfee Hills trespass, Middlefork of Sixteen Mile, Gianforte's FWP fishing access site lawsuit, Troy Downing FWP citations, Sienkiewicz' removal, etc.

    I have publicly advocated for trail/road relocation proposals, but based on all I am looking at from a proper FS NEPA process, costs, engineering feasibility, legal easements, historical documents, maps and prescriptive easement information, fish & wildlife, landowner history, railroad deed easements, losing motorized access, fuel tax access, etc., this is not one I can advocate for, but that is just my opinion in this "public scoping" proposal.

  6. #81
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    Yesterday, I had to leave for the Skyline Banquet in Butte (stocked up on smoked kielbasa while there), didn't take my laptop with me, so I had to wait until I got back today to post this.

    Montana Wildlife Federation submitted their public comment, which came up at the FOIA Reading Room.

    MWF is involved in finding opportunities that improve public access to public lands. The issue in the Crazy Mountains on the Custer Gallatin National Forest has been at the forefront of public access disputes for many years. The Crazy Mountains have very few access points to get people to their public lands, and disputes over trails have simmered for years. With that in mind, the project to build a new trail on the west side of the Crazies holds promise. MWF supports securing permanent legal public easements on the involved private land first and foremost. We believe that legal public access on legal public roads and trails is the first priority, but if the Forest Service is going to go ahead with considering this proposal, we offer the follow questions that need to be answered:

    1.What would be the effect of the new trail on big game distribution, for example, would it have the potential to push elk and deer off of National Forest lands?
    2.If there are stream crossings, what would be the potential for sedimentation, and what potential mitigation would work?
    3.The legal easements on private land for this new trail are critical to secure before any rehabilitation and relinquishment of the existing disputed trails, #267 and #195.
    4.The wildlife impact analysis could also extend beyond big game species. The analysis should look at how the trail could impact smaller mammals, game birds, songbirds and other species found in the area.

    We have these concerns and would like to see the best science applied to answer these important issues for our public lands. At the same time, MWF is eager to see improved public access in the Crazy Mountains. We recognize the difficulty of achieving that, given the historic checkerboarded nature of the land ownership there and a history of contention over the trail system. We are willing to work with the Zimmermans and the Forest Service to reach a goal that gets the public to their lands, while maintaining a level of habitat security.

    Please enter these comments as part of the official record. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important proposal.

  7. #82
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    I think that is an excellent comment by MWF, and a model to follow:
    1) Express support for collaborating with the Zimmermans
    2) Share any concerns so they can be addressed

    BHA also submitted comments (as well and Kat and Brad Wilson). You can download them by going to https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=53388 and clicking on the "Public Comment/Objection Reading Room" link on the upper right of the page. The files open with adobe acrobat even though they don't have a pdf extension.

    I should have my comments done soon and I will post them.

  8. #83
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    My near-final draft of my comments:
    I have been involved in the Crazy Mountain access issues for some time. There are five contested trails that the landowner claims the public does not have the right to use in spite of evidence of historical use: Trails 195, 267, 122, 136, and 43.

    I strongly support working with the Zimmermanís to achieve an acceptable solution to the dispute on trails 195 and 267. A successful negotiation would:
    1) Solve the access issues on two of the five trails: 195 and 267.
    2) Build trust amongst the Crazy Mountain Working Group, which will encourage more collaboration on the remaining three disputed trails.
    3) Secure a passageway through or around section 35.

    While I support the process, I am very reluctant to support the proposed location of the new trail, which roughly follows the 7900í contour around the drainage at the common border of sections 23 and 26. That mountainside is very steep, and appears to be very rocky so it is not a good place for a trail. The bigger problem, however, is this basin appears to provide heavy forest cover. A trail through this area would affect wildlife security. In addition, the easy access would reduce the quality of hunting in this section. There are similar issues in the southern half of section 26.

    A route that hugs the western boundary of sections 23 and 26 is much less intrusive and shorter, and the terrain appears more suitable for trail building. I have included Google Earth screenshots of the area with 1) trails 195 and 267 in their existing locations (Blue), 2) the trail as proposed by USFS (red), and 3) a possible route (white) to reduce the issues with the USFS proposed location.

    As drawn, my proposed route leaves section 23 and 26 and goes onto Zimmermanís land. This avoids unnecessary elevation gains and switchbacks, but may prove to be unnecessary. The main issue of concern for me is to avoid deep incursions into the drainages of sections 23 and 26.

    Truthfully, I would prefer no trail at all through sections 23 and 26. If an easement to the public land portion of Trail 195 is secured, these sections can be accessed by hiking cross country from Trail 195. The Porcupine/Ibex connection could be made using the Elk Creek/Trespass route. If a corridor or even a small corner of section 35 was given to the Forest service the corner crossing issue at sections 25 and 35 would be eliminated and the entire corridor could be accessed from either end.

    Understandably, if trail 267 is moved or eliminated the public needs to be compensated in some fashion, but maybe there is an alternative to putting a new trail through sections 23 and 26.

    Finally, for the record, after talking with many people it is clear many of them have been misinformed about this proposal, and to some extent this is to be expected because the trail location is not finalized. I think the Forest needs to nail down the location of the trail and present it to the public for further comment. In addition, other alternatives that address the concerns of the affected parties should be explored and presented at the same time.
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  9. #84
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    The editorial I referenced earlier: http://billingsgazette.com/opinion/c...beae6b82e.html. I didn't realize it came out while I was out of town. The signers changed, including adding Montana TU, but I don't feel I misrepresented any of the previously mentioned parties.

    Don Thomas also did a good article on the Crazy Mountain situation: https://www.backcountryhunters.org/crazy_business

  10. #85

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    Hi RobG,

    I have a NR tag for elk this year and am aware of all the access issues in the Crazys. I really want to hunt that ground. Can you tell me which trails still have public access in 315 and which drainage's I can backpack into that have water and elk??

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Secondly, I'm not opposed to paying a trespass fee to cross private to get to public as long as it is a reasonable fee. Say $500, same as getting a ticket for trespassing. Any ranchers you know that are receptive to that idea please let me know.

    Thanks much for any info you can provide.

  11. #86
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    New Mexico
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    Question for RobG and Katganna. How many man or woman hours do have in this? I admire. Is it still worth it? I think I know. but damn how long can you persevere?

  12. #87

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    any updates,,,,,,

  13. #88

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    What is the latest and greatest on this? What about on the east side of the range where Rob got ticketed?

    I was just sitting through a right of way and easement class and the part regarding prescription and access got me thinking of this.
    ďTo me, if you donít eat it, then itís not a point of prideĒ. -Matt Rinella

  14. #89
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    Dec 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTGomer View Post
    What is the latest and greatest on this? What about on the east side of the range where Rob got ticketed?

    I was just sitting through a right of way and easement class and the part regarding prescription and access got me thinking of this.
    It's still moving along and I might know a little more next week, hopefully something on the east side too. Feel free to email me at rob.gregoire@gmail.com as I don't always monitor this site.

    I'm not sure how many man hours I have in this.... lately I've been letting the negotiation process work and trying to put some money in the bank.

  15. #90

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    Thanks for the response. I’ll save your email address too.

    Good luck
    ďTo me, if you donít eat it, then itís not a point of prideĒ. -Matt Rinella

  16. #91
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    Dec 2010
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    I got this emailed to me today. They are moving forward with the trail proposal (I doubt if it will be in the original proposed location). An informational meeting is scheduled for Aug 29 at the Shane Center for the Arts in Livingston.
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