HELENA, Mont. — Due to ongoing misuse of State Trust Land associated with recreational shooting – including public safety concerns, shooting debris left on site, and concerns that private property will be further damaged – the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation announced that two new firearm restrictions will be implemented on the affected lands in Gallatin County.
Restrictions go into place on November 12 of this year, with an additional seasonal restriction going into place in the spring of 2023. The mix of temporary and year-round firearm restrictions are intended to allow the surface lessees to utilize their lease while maintaining access for dispersed recreational activities.
“While nearly all accessible State Trust Lands are open to the public for recreation with the required license, restrictions on recreational activity are sometimes necessary when the situation becomes unsafe or lessees are no longer able to use the land in accordance with the terms of the lease,” said Erik Eneboe, acting Bozeman Unit Manager.
Restrictions are being implemented on two tracts of State Trust Land, one along Axtell Anceney Road and the other on land south of Logan, MT, approximately one-half mile south of the interstate on Buffalo Jump Road.
Axtell Anceney Road – State Trust Land, Section 6 of Township 3 South, Range 4 East: Effective November 12, 2022, Firearms will be restricted year-round on all state trust land located south and east of Axtell Anceney Road.
South of Logan, East of Buffalo Jump Road – State Trust Land, Section 2 of Township 1 North, Range 2 East: A temporary firearm restriction will be in place November 12 – 25, 2022, for fence, water well, and solar panel repair and lease evaluation. Additionally, firearms will be restricted annually from April 15 – June 30 during the grazing season to allow for active grazing, fence repair, and general lease management activities.
A full legal public notice of the restriction is posted online at http://dnrc.mt.gov/public-interest/public-notices/2022-scoping-notices/october/recreational-use-restriction.
In accordance with the statues for management of State Trust Lands, Department staff have documented ongoing issues and are taking the restrictive actions after posting notices that firearm use on the parcels could be restricted if property damage and safety risk continued.
“Montana State Trust Lands are working lands managed to generate millions of dollars in revenue annually for Montana students and other beneficiaries. The ability to generate income from these lands is being jeopardized by the intense recreational shooting taking place,” said Eneboe. “The restrictions allow for the land to generate income through grazing leases, while maintaining access for recreation. However, if additional abuses occur or the current abuse continues, it is the duty of the DNRC to take additional action that could mean further restrictions.”
“Each of us has a responsibility to care for State Trust Land and we need the public’s help to keep each other accountable. Please report all misuse to Fish, Wildlife and Parks enforcement or the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office,” said Eneboe.
Negligent firearm use that creates an immediate threat to public safety, livestock, or private property should be reported to the local sheriff’s office by calling 9-1-1. Other recreational use violations or misuse of State Trust Lands should be reported by calling 1-800 TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668) or submitted online at https://myfwp.mt.gov/fwpPub/tipmont.