Montana proponents for public access, landowners, await implications of Wyoming lawsuit - PART 1

When four hunters used a specially constructed ladder to step from one corner of public land in southern Wyoming to another, the ripples from that decision were initially small but have since ignited an impassioned debate that could open — or unequivocally restrict — access to more than eight million acres of public land across the West. In a three-part series, Montana Free Press will explore “corner-crossing” and what it might mean for public access in Montana. This is the first installment of that series.

The four hunters from Missouri had come prepared to Elk Mountain, Wyoming. Three of them had hunted in the area the previous year, finding its high elevation, fir-dotted slopes and aspen groves ideal for elk and deer. The hunters knew, too, that the odds were decent that they’d encounter pushback from the manager of the Elk Mountain Ranch, even though they’d come to hunt the sections of public land intermixed in a checkerboard pattern with the 22,000-acre ranch.

In anticipation of such difficulties, they’d brought a mapping app that displays property boundaries and the user’s location relative to them. One of the huntersalso brought a lightweight, articulating ladder he’d built just for the occasion, so the hunters could cross from one corner of the Bureau of Land Management land to another — each open to the public — without stepping on the private property of the Elk Mountain Ranch.

Read more from the Montana Free Press here...

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