In March of 2015, a watchful member of the public noticed an encroachment on one of our county roads – Old Yellowstone Trail South, a county road with a lot of history. “This 1913 route became known as Yellowstone Trail Road and remains so named today. The main highway moved about over the years, including various routes on the east side of Yellowstone River, and it is presumed that the route of the YT (Yellowstone Trail) moved accordingly at the time, but this western route was first, was primary, and still retains the name.” The Old Yellowstone Trail South goes right to the area of the iconic Roosevelt Arch leading into the Yellowstone National Park, dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt on April 24, 1903, with the inscription – For The Benefit And Enjoyment Of The People.
Forest Service public land surrounds 3/4s of the private property at the southern end of Park County, just south of Miner, Montana. The county road, just west of the Yellowstone River goes through the middle of the private parcel. Old Yellowstone Trail South goes through Yankee Jim Canyon and accesses the Yellowstone River along with a great deal of National Forest. Finally, it goes through a portion of Yellowstone Park before ending at Gardiner, MT.
The member of the public documented the encroachments on the north and south ends of Old Yellowstone Trail South, getting in touch with Park County. The encroachments were then brought before the Park County Commission on March 10th.
The encroachments by private landowner Kevin Gallagher involved fences, No Trespassing signs and archways that had been placed on both the north and south entrances of his property, within the county road right-of-way, which had been an ongoing issue, according to the commission meeting minutes. It was determined at the March 10th commission meeting that the Park County Attorney office should notify the landowner by letter, of the Montana law, as well as a $10 per day penalty, per Montana law- MCA 7-14-2137.
Park County resident and PLWA member, Lou Goosey, photo documented the encroachments and the removal, which was reported at the Park County Commission meeting on March 26th, as being removed.
MCA 45-8-115 states that it is illegal to post on state or federal land to restrict access or use of state or federal land; as well as MCA 45-6-201, which states, “(3) To provide for effective posting of private land through which or along which the public has an unfenced right-of-way by means of a public road, a landowner shall: (a) place a conspicuous sign no closer than 30 feet of the centerline of the roadway where it enters the private land, stating words substantially similar to “Private property, No Trespassing off road next ? miles”; or (b) place notice, as described in subsection (2)(a), no closer than 30 feet of the centerline of the roadway at regular intervals of not less than one-fourth mile along the roadway where it borders unfenced private land, except that orange markings may not be placed on posts where the public roadway enters the private land.”