State installing turnstiles for easier public access via two bridges on Ruby River

by Susan Dunlap, Montana Standard

“After more than a decade of litigation and years of no access, anglers and other recreationalists will be able to more easily get to the Ruby River at Seyler Lane and Lewis Lane bridges by the end of summer.

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks is installing a turnstile feature in the fences at both bridges, just south of Twin Bridges in Madison County. Seyler and Lewis Lanes are two of the last roads across the Ruby before it reaches its confluence with the Beaverhead River.

FWP fisheries biologist Matt Jaeger said the state agency met with stream access proponents in early May and then representatives of the area ranches soon after to discuss the issue and make a plan. Public access proponent Howard Crest said the fence in place at both bridges is small enough that a young person could get over it, but “in the public right-of-way, we can do better than that.”

Jaeger said the fence isn’t preventing access but makes it more challenging.

The turnstile feature, in the design phase now, is expected to be ready for use before summer’s end. The walk-through stiles will allow people, but not livestock, to pass through the fence.

Jaeger said one reason for this particular type of feature is because the local ranches herd cattle on the road and over the bridge.

‘The turnstile’s ingenious, really. It allows for access but keeps the cattle out. It should be perfect,’ Miller said.”

Seyler Lane
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Public Land/Water Access Association Inc. or PLWA,
is a citizen group organized and operated under the Montana nonprofit corporation act.
The Internal Revenue Service has made a determination that PLWA qualifies as a tax- exempt
organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that it is a public charity.

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