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support A community solution for public access

The Forest Service released their draft decision and updated Environmental Assessment on The East Crazy Inspiration Divide Land Exchange, initiating a 45-day public comment opportunity.

Some of the details and boundaries of the land trade have been modified in response to public comment on the Forest Service's original proposal. We encourage interested members of the public to review the draft decision and provide feedback to the Forest Service by November 13, 2023.  

“We’ve learned that dealing with checkerboarded public lands and settling long-standing access disputes is hard and slow, it requires people being willing to sit down and talk. These public lands are a part of our local identity and way of life, they are also significant to all Americans. We’ve done our best to help find a path forward and we want to thank the Forest Service for the thorough analysis and incorporating public feedback. I encourage the public to review the draft decision, the more people that participate, the better.”

                                                   - Dale Sexton, Livingston

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FOREST SERVICE resources to assist with your comments

what it does

  • Consolidates and unlocks public access to thirty square miles of public lands on the eastern side of the Crazy Mountains, where access is currently severely limited. 

  • Constructs new 22-mile trail to resolve long-simmering dispute over the legality and location of trails #136 and #122. Connects a missing link to establish a 40-mile loop trail circuit in the Crazy Mountains. 

  • Permanently protects Crazy Peak, which is sacred to Indigenous peoples, and allow access for the continuation of cultural practices. 

  •  A 640 acre parcel containing Smeller Lake is now included in the exchange, converting an additional private inholding in the interior of the Crazy Mountain Range to public land.


What people are saying

"The Asaalooke Nation urges you to move forward with this proposal to benefit not only citizens of the local area, but to Montana and its visitors and users of our public lands."


"The East Crazy Land Exchange Proposal is a win for private property rights as well as the rights of the citizens to access public lands. This proposal has been a collaborative effort that will solve a lot of the current, well publicized issues in the Crazy Mountains."


“As a fifth generation rancher our family has come to truly respect and love these mountains. The East Crazy Mountains Land Exchange is a positive path forward to solving the access issues that have plagued this region for decades. It is the end result of many years of collaborative, grassroots efforts between the Forest Service, land owners, recreational and conservation communities. The dialogue and trust that has been created between these entities throughout this process has been invaluable and sets a wonderful example for future projects.”

Nathan Anderson, 5th Generation Montanan, Melville

 "I have been inspired by the amount of time everyone has put into this. We want to thank the Forest Service for this forward progress and taking the next step in the administrative process. The opportunity for the public to be involved in the process is vital, so I encourage folks to review the proposal for themselves. The Montana Wildlife Federation will continue to advocate through the public process to strengthen the proposal.” 

John Salazar, Montana Wildlife Federation Board of directors

"We urge your support for a well thought out proposal in an area that has been contentious for decades and believe this proposal represents a rare and unique opportunity to benefit public land users, wildlife, and private landowners."


"The checkerboard pattern of alternating private and public lands makes the Crazy Mountains a vulnerable landscape to development in our growing corner of southwest Montana, so consolidating checkerboard public land is imperative to achieving long term conservation.  This land exchange will not only clarify where the public has legal access, but will allow the U.S. Forest Service to better protect and steward the wildlife habitat and important cultural sites in the Crazy Mountains,”

erica lighthiser, park county environmental council

While there are a variety of perspectives when it comes to the land use debates in the Crazy Mountains, the East Crazy Mountains Land Exchange is a good example of a local compromise that benefits all. I have seen first hand the benefits of diverse people groups coming together to make compromises that benefit our community as a whole. Without such compromises, unique ranges such as the Crazies, will remain in limbo for generations to come. Working together and creating solutions to complex problems is what this is all about.

Megan Dehann, Rancher and Director of the Crazy Mountain 100 Ultramarathon

“Indigenous nations and peoples are connected to the Crazy Mountains and have been for thousands of years. I am encouraged to see the critical step of a deepening understanding, acknowledgment, and inclusion of this particular mountain range as a significant Indigenous cultural landscape. I hope to see more opportunities that include various Indigenous perspectives from multiple Indigenous nations in this and future land exchanges and forest plans,”

Francine D. Spang-Willis, Northern Cheyenne, owner of Appearing Flying Woman Consulting, LLC.
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