In a blow to public access advocates that has drawn national attention, a federal court judge has recommended ruling in favor of the Custer Gallatin National Forest and private landowners on the west side of the Crazy Mountains in a long-running dispute over four historic trails.
On Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan issued a 28-page finding granting the two defendants’ cross motion for summary judgment. The groups have 14 days to file an objection. Then it is up to U.S. District Court Judge Susan P. Watters to make the final ruling.
If Watters upholds Cavan’s decision it would halt an attempt to force the Forest Service to defend historic trail access rights for the public across private lands. The lawsuit was filed by the Friends of the Crazy Mountains, Enhancing Montana's Wildlife & Habitat, the Skyline Sportsmen Association and Montana Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.
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