Hunters Score Responding Access Victory in Bitterroot

Montana Supreme Court Rules to Permanently Reopen Hughes Creek Road

The Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association and Public Land and Water Access Association (PLWA) scored a major victory in the Montana Supreme Court this week with a ruling to permanently reopen Hughes Creek Road in the Bitterroot Valley.

Landowners had blocked the road that leads into the Bitterroot National Forest near Hughes Creek for over three decades. But several years ago Ravalli County commissioners determined the evidence was clear the route is public and ordered the gates taken down. A District Court judge agreed with the county after the landowners challenged the decision in court. Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association pushed the case and received help from PLWA.

But the landowners again challenged the decision by taking it to the Montana Supreme Court, and in the meantime kept the gate locked. This week’s ruling ends the dispute and will permanently restore public access to the National Forest.

Congrats to the Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association, PLWA and all hunters in the Bitterroot.