Public Land In Park County Will Stay Under County Control

Nov 26, 2018

Credit Credit By Paul Rau and the Bureau of Land Management via CC BY 2.0

Beartooth Ranch near the Clark Fork of the Yellowstone River is back under local control for now. On Wednesday, Park County commissioners decided against signing a letter with the state Legislature’s Joint Agricultural Committee. The letter asks Wyoming's U.S. congressional delegation to allow greater flexibility for the 657-acre property known as Beartooth Ranch.

Instead, the ranch’s working group will continue its work. Tim Wade, a member of that group and the local Trout Unlimited chapter. He said the commissioners made the right decision and the group can now move forward.

“I envision the ranch being a multi-use public area for rafting, for fishing, for hunting, for watching birds and raptors and things like that,” Wade said.

The land was handed over to the state in the 1990s after it was seized from a drug smuggler. The land is restricted to only recreational uses by an MOU. Wade said it’s important to expand public access to the ranch.

There’s so much public land that's blocked off by private land that this little piece is critical in keeping a corridor on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone,” he said.

A Park County commissioner-elect and member of the working group recently asked the state’s Joint Agricultural Committee to consider loosening the restrictions of the land to possibly allow ranching.