Commission tells Dubois ranch to keep road open

Sep 13, 2017 By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer

Fremont County Commissioners has ordered the 3 Spear Ranch in Dubois to open access to Little Warm Springs Creek Road, which provides access to some Bureau of Land Management land in the area.

The bulk of the road actually is a county road, but the ranch commonly has kept a locked gate blocking access west of Third Street.

Google Maps even lists the road as a "Pvt Drive for 3 Spear Ranch."

The owners of the ranch apparently have believed the road to be private until recently, and they asked the county to vacate its ownership of the road Tuesday.

Instead, the county board demanded the road be opened, and said signs indicating it's a "dangerous private road" must be removed.

"I'm not asking," Commissioner Clarence Thomas said. "The road need to be open until we make a decision."

Chairman Travis Becker said that both the gate and signs lie within the county's right-of-way and the ranch effectively is "locking the public out of their road."

"The public has been on this road since 1912. Why should they give up the right to this road?" Becker said.

Attorney Bill Miller, who represents the ranch, said it would be prudent for the county to vacate the road because its original public use -- timber access -- no longer is relevant.

The ranch's owners are attempting to sell the property.

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