Federal Judge Douses the Flames – For Now

Custer County Commissioners have been rattling their sabres over a central Idaho road closure enforced by the Bureau of Land Management.  The closure occurred 12 years ago after a landslide and prevents off-road-vehicles (ORVs) from access to the Jerry Peak Wilderness Study Area.

Despite being given the opportunity to object to the closure during the BLM’s planning process years ago, Custer County now claims it was never properly consulted, and will enforce a RS 2477 right-of-way despite failing to make such claim under the Quiet Title Act.  Last Sunday the county sent a front-loader in to remove the roadblock and promised it would arrest any federal agents who interfered with the removal of the roadblock but ultimately stopped short in response to a federal order.

Idaho roadblock remains after federal judge intervenesAssociated Press

Custer County Commission Chairman Wayne Butts, among locals in this mountainous region who for years have chafed at federal control of about 97 percent of county territory, said Monday he envisions this case as establishing a beachhead in returning the region’s management to people who live here.

Butts expressed dismay at Winmill’s order even though, according to the ruling, “No representative for the defendants appeared although they were provided notice of the hearing.”

“I’m shocked that a federal judge would allow himself to be used as the arm of federal activism of the worst sort.”

View Herd Creek Road Closure in a larger map
County to reopen Herd Creek Road under RS 2477Challis Messenger

Herd Creek Road Memorandum Decision and Temporary Restraining Order

About The Author

Brian Ertz

4 Responses to County vs Federal Flare-Up On Herd Creek, Central Idaho

  1. Ralph Maughan says:

    Would anyone who didn’t live there visit Custer County if it had no public land?

    • Louise Kane says:

      What a place Idaho could be for wildlife and wildlife lovers with some progressives at the helm. A western Vermont.

  2. Mark York says:

    Sounds reminiscent of the Jarbidge, where I worked on bull trout in 2005.

  3. Dude, the bagman says:

    It’s odd that this road has been closed for 12 years, and this is only happening now.

    “I’m shocked that a federal judge would allow himself to be used as the arm of federal activism of the worst sort.”

    Why would it surprise anyone that a federal judge would enforce federal law?

    I do like that the BLM’s attorney said that removing the road block would violate the U.S. Constitution. And here I always thought the Constitution says that rural folks can do whatever they please in the name of reserved rights (like the ancient fundamental common law right to ride ATVs behind gates). I guess you learn something new every day.


April 2012


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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