Trail Relocation Proposal

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Recently touted as a “made-in-Montana compromise”, the 3rd land exchange proposal, this time on the east-side of the Crazy Mountains, is anything but – let's call it what it is – a big money sellout. For the public trust's sake, you just might want to know some of the details behind it, tip of the iceberg, and how these land exchanges are shrinking the Crazy Mountains.

The East-Side Crazy Mountains Trail Relocation Proposal was worked up by Tom Glass of the Yellowstone Club, for the "working group" to present to the Forest Service.

On February 10, 2020, I, Enhancing Montana's Wildlife & Habitat, attended a private meeting requested by Tom Glass (Western Land Group, Inc. representing the Yellowstone Club) and Jess Peterson (Western Skies Strategies), with our Friends of the Crazy Mountains plaintiffs and attorneys, involving a proposed eastern Crazy Mountains land exchange between private landowners and the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

Glass explained that the Yellowstone Club was in discussions with Custer Gallatin National Forest Supervisor Mary Erickson, on a proposed land exchange in Big Sky. Glass was informed that the land they offered the FS, was not an equal exchange, that they would need to come up with the balance. Glass then stated that FS Supervisor Mary Erickson directed them to look to the Crazy Mountains to come up with the value balance needed. My FOIA requests confirm Glass met with Supervisor Erickson and Regional Forester Leanne Marten, during the stated time period.

Glass also stated they did not believe that a NEPA process would need to be conducted and they were leaning towards a Congressional exchange, rather than administrative. Afterward, Glass registered as a Congressional lobbyist, on behalf of Yellowstone Development, LLC, on March 1, 2020, to lobby on “Land Exchange Legislation”.

Not only does a legislative exchange potentially steamroll the process, it can also reduce opportunities for public involvement – a great concern to me as a public trust advocate.

Additionally, during the presentation, Glass and Peterson repeatedly made statements, as to the landowners status and rights, which contradict public access research I've done, involving existing public access in the Crazy Mountains: historical prescriptive easements, Northern Pacific Railroad grant deeds with public access, and RS2477 public access.

Not only does this east-side land exchange diminish the approximate 100 year old existing trail system, it also moves trails to much steeper elevations, limiting the users who can physically access the trails. This proposal, as the others, seriously ignores that the public already HAS ACCESS, if only the FS would simply do their job to defend it from private landowner obstruction. Taken as a whole, between the east and west-side exchange being litigated, the proposed southern exchange, now the east proposal, we are seeing the inexcusable shrinking of the Crazy Mountains, a theft from the public's hands.

Please contact Senators Jon Tester, Steve Daines, and Rep. Greg Gianforte, telling them, "Do not legislate this process; it must go through the administrative process, the Public must have input.


Crazy Mountains National Forest Public Access Home Page

Enhancing Montana's Wildlife & Habitat


Have you been in the Crazy Mountains?

If you have been in the Crazy Mountains...

  • perhaps you received a citation when you were on a FS Trail on their map;
  • perhaps you have been on one of these contested trail and you thankfully did not ask landowner permission or sign in and would like to add your account to the prescriptive easement history;
  • perhaps you would just like to share your story and/or some pictures of what these particular public lands and access mean to you?

If so, please contact Kathryn :



Crazy Mountains Public Access Page

Please contact the officials below

Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250 (202) 720-2791

Forest Service Chief, Vicki Christiansen, vcchristiansen@fs.fed.us (202) 205-8439

Region 1, Regional Forester Leanne Marten, lmarten@fs.fed.us (406) 329-3315

Custer Gallatin National Forest Supervisor Mary Erickson, mcerickson@fs.fed.us (406) 587-6949

Sen. Jon Tester, senator@tester.senate.gov (202) 224-2644

Senator Steve Daines, steve@daines.senate.gov (202) 224-2651





















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