by Susan Dunlap, Missoulian
“The highest court in the state said no to public access Tuesday when it reversed part of a lower court’s decision on Modesty Creek Road, about 15 miles north of Anaconda.
In a 5-2 decision, the Montana Supreme Court issued a split ruling. It agreed with the district court’s decision that the lower portion of Modesty Creek Road is a county road. But it reversed the lower court’s decision about the upper portion of Modesty Creek Road, which splits off and leads to U.S. Forest Service land.
This reversal handed a victory to landowner Don McGee and Letica Land Co. LLC, a Michigan limited liability company. The two landowners have been battling with Anaconda-Deerlodge County over the right of the public to use Modesty Creek Road since 2012 when county commissioners cut the locks on the landowners’ gate.
Justice Mike McGrath dissented, saying the landowners never had a right to close the road in the first place. Justice Michael Wheat joined in the dissent.”