Porcupine Ibex Trail ribbon cutting celebration is premature

Monday, October 25, 2021


The Porcupine Ibex Trail ribbon cutting ceremony is a premature celebration. The fate of this trail and three others in the Crazy Mountains is pending in United States District Court. A federal judge is currently considering complex legal arguments and evidence presented by plaintiffs Friends of the Crazy Mountains, Montana Chapter Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Enhancing Montana’s Wildlife and Habitat, and Skyline Sportsmen Association; and defendants U.S. Forest Service, M Hanging Lazy 3, LLC, and Henry Guth, Inc. The lawsuit has garnered national attention. In a hearing last week of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, said and I quote: “My understanding is that the Forest Service is no longer defending the prescriptive easements that have existed there for roughly a century now. That concerns me, because if we are not defending the prescriptive easements that the public uses to access their public lands after a century in Montana, I worry about that spreading to New Mexico and other places as well.”

The above named litigants have done the heavy lifting on Crazy Mountain issues. Now we wait for a ruling that is expected to set a national precedent for public access.

Sheila Royston