David Letterman’s Own Private Wilderness

We’ve certainly discussed and debated the proposed Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act from Montana’s Senator Max Baucus on this site before. However, a new article in today’s Great Falls Tribune covers one aspect of this issue that we definitely haven’t discussed before.

You’ll have to read the entire article to more fully understand the issue, but the general gist is that in Teton County, Montana – which includes much of the Rocky Mountain Front landscape – old public County Road No. 380 was unilaterally declared private in 1988, which closed off public access to not only state lands, but also portions of the Lewis and Clark National Forest in the Deep Creek area.  Today, old County Road No. 380 terminates near a large horse barn on land owned by Late Show host David Letterman.  As the Great Falls Tribune reports:

What makes the fight over old County Road No. 380 unique is that it accesses public land that abuts the proposed 17,000-acre “Deep Creek Addition” to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex contained in Sen. Max Baucus’ “Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act.”  If Baucus’ bill passes and becomes law, the new federally designated wilderness area would be inaccessible from the east.

Anderson pointed out that the Heritage Act’s supporters have promoted the measure with assurances that it would maintain access for hunters and recreationists. Anderson said if old County Road No. 380 isn’t reopened to the public, only one landowner will have access to that new wilderness — Late Night talk show host David Letterman — who owns the only piece of private land adjacent to wilderness proposed by the Heritage Act.

2 thoughts on “David Letterman’s Own Private Wilderness”

  1. Thanks for posting, Matthew, this is an interesting one.

    Cunningham is OK with private landowners restricting access as long as they’re good stewards of the wildlife and wildland resources. He said he fully expects the fight over old County Road No. 380 to end up in the courts, where county taxpayers will foot the bill for costly litigation.

    So it’s OK for landowners to restrict access to public land, and litigation is expensive, so best not used as a tool by the unwashed and their elected governments. Hmm…


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