By Kay Braddock
Montana Assistant Attorney General Stuart Segrest is planning to meet with Prairie County officials next week as the state attorney general’s office continues efforts to gather information regarding Scenic View Road.
Segrest, who plans to meet with Prairie County commissioners, along with Prairie County Attorney Becky Convery and road department supervisor Mark Trask, confirmed earlier this week that he will be in Terry Monday and Tuesday. The visit is primarily focused in gathering historical information regarding the establishment of the road, according to an e-mail correspondence from Segrest.
“In addition, I plan to visit and drive down Scenic View Road to the overlook, if allowed to by the landowner,” Segrest noted in the e-mail.
The state attorney general’s office began reviewing Scenic View Road in May.
Scenic View Road became an access issue last year after landowner Michael Karrels installed a locked gate on the road which winds through portions of his private property.
The road, which has been maintained by the county for over 44 years, leads to a popular tourist site overlooking the Terry Badlands. It also leads to 26 sections of public lands maintained by the Bureau of Land Management.
The BLM has placed kiosks describing the Terry Badlands in two locations – one at 4-Corners gas station and one at the Terry Badlands overlook.
Prairie County Attorney Becky Convery said she has contacted attorney Wally Congdon regarding the issue.
“Every time I’ve talked to him on the phone he’s been very interested in assisting,” Convery said. Congdon who serves as a special deputy attorney for several western Montana counties, may help the county sort through the road access issues that has stymied county commissioners.
Previously the county paid Missoula lawyer and road law expert Peter Dayton to assist on the Scenic View Road issue, but as of yet, no opinion has been received from Dayton.
Ultimately, if Dayton doesn’t produce the work the county will ask for the money back, Convery said.
Published July 22, 2009