BLM: Durfee Hills fence built by Wilks brothers is OK

by Brett French, Billings Gazette

“Rumors that a new fence built by the Wilks brothers around Bureau of Land Management acreage in the Durfee Hills encroached on federal property have been stifled after an agency investigation.

In a BLM press release, the agency said its staff was granted permission last week by the owners of the surrounding N Bar Ranch in Fergus County to investigate the encroachment reports. After BLM staff conducted a flyover and ground visits using a survey-grade GPS, no encroachment was found.

BLM staff found that in some instances when a personal-use recreational GPS was compared to the more accurate survey-grade GPS, the recreational GPS errantly showed some areas to be on BLM-managed land.

The Wilks brothers, who purchased the N Bar Ranch in 2011, had proposed a land exchange earlier this year with the BLM that would have given the brothers the landlocked Durfee Hills in exchange for other tracts they owned. The BLM denied the request after local hunters decried the offer and petitioned the agency to reject the exchange.

Since then, the Wilks brothers have offered another exchange proposal, but the BLM said that pursuing any such measure is too expensive and requires too much manpower, and rejected it without consideration.”

Durfee Hills - Fergus County
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