Todd Gunderson, a PLWA volunteer attorney, received a copy of a letter Fergus County Attorney Thomas P. Meissner sent to the Fergus County Commissioners regarding the closure of Mabee road.
Mr. Meissner advised the county not to get involved in this case. He stated, “I am sure there are dozens of roads in Fergus County where the issue of prescriptive use could be argued. I believe it would be a mistake for the Board of County Commissioners to support one position or the other in these situations”.
The Mabee Road runs north from Roy, Montana in Fergus County, and provides the only road access to a large area of the Missouri Breaks National Monument and the CMR Wildlife Refuge.
Since Todd received this letter, a major event has taken place. The Montana Supreme Court ruled in favor of a prescriptive easement on a road similar to the Mabee Road. It is the Perkins Gulch Road in Deer Lodge County. The case was resolved though the District Court, which determined the road was public under prescriptive easement. This decision was appealed to the Montana Supreme Court and they upheld the District Court decision.
It is my opinion that we have a similar case and would be able prove Prescriptive Easement rights based on the testimony provided by the court records on the Perkins Gulch Road. PLWA will now review our situation, gather information and advice and then call a meeting of the board of directors and fully discuss our options and what we do next.