County easements inch closer to resolution

By Sarah Pridgeon

The County Commissioners have collected more easements in the process of vacating unused parts of Miller Creek and Bearlodge Road and re-establishing the road in its current position. Several private landowners remain undecided, however, and negotiations will continue before the commissioners decide how to proceed with the outstanding portions of the road.
The vacation process will ensure that the easements held by the county from landowners, the state and federal entities match the road as it actually exists on the ground. Some county roads have been abandoned over time, migrated before they were upgraded or never existed at all.

Miller Creek Road (Jeff Moberg photo)
Miller Creek Road (Jeff Moberg photo)

The county now holds easements for the majority of landowners along the roads, including across state and federal land and from a number of private landowners. Some landowners have yet to make a decision, while others are unwilling to sign an easement before Rare Element Resources confirms whether it intends to use Miller Creek Road to haul product.
“I don’t want the haul road next to my house, so I don’t see any reason for me to sign it. That’s the whole thing behind it, otherwise it wouldn’t be an issue,” said Lance Marshall, landowner.
The county has several options to help them establish the road if they do not receive easements, including adverse possession and prescriptive right. The County Commissioners will not decide which course to pursue until they have completed negotiations with every affected landowner.