Crazy Mountain Peaks

LIVINGSTON, Mont. - The Custer Gallatin National Forest, Yellowstone Ranger District, announced after more than a decade, the Forest Service has closed on the South Crazy Land Exchange.

With the exchange completed, two easements were acquired, along with the swapping of approximately 1,920 acres of National Forest for 1,877.5 acres of private lands.

Before the exchange, the area was sectioned off like a checkerboard, making continuous public access spanning the area, from northeast of Livingston, Montana and northwest of Big Timber, Montana, somewhat impossible.

The sections entering Forest Service lands are now available for public use.

You can find our previous coverage regarding the separate, citizen-led proposal submitted by Western Lands Group, on the east side of the Crazy Mountains that still has work to be finished here.

That project is separate from the South Crazy Mountain Land Exchange and is currently in the very initial stages of a feasibility study with the Custer Gallatin National Forest.  The proposal was submitted to the Forest Service in the summer/fall 2021.  

"While we recognize there is work ahead to continue improving public access and land consolidation in the Crazy Mountains, it feels good to pause to celebrate this step forward. We’re thankful for the interest and passion that people have for this area, and for the cooperation and support from landowners and partners in making this a reality," Mary Erickson, Custer Gallatin Forest Supervisor, said in the announcement. 

According to the Forest Service there are many benefits to the completed Exchange, including the consolidation of National Forest System lands to create a larger block of clearly identifiable public land, the reduction of unintended trespassing onto private property, lowered administrative costs, and much more.

"Our team is pleased to bring this exchange to the finish line and have these sections in the public estate," Erickson said. "Completion of this exchange demonstrates progress in this highly valued and complex landscape."

The current map is available here, while an updated online data and map insert will be available to the public later in 2022.

The Over Snow Vehicle Use Map (OSVUM) and the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) should still be consulted for travel regulations. 

Download the Avenza app and get Custer Gallatin MVUM maps here

More information can also be found at the USDA project page.

News For You