Indian Creek / South Indian Creek Access Proposal

Release Date: Sep 1, 2009   Ennis, Montana

Contact(s): Patty Bates 406-683-3979

ENNIS, Mt. — The Madison Ranger District of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, in conjunction with two private landowners in the Indian Creek area, is considering relocating approximately one half mile of the Indian Creek trail (#328) and accepting donation of access into the South Indian Creek drainage as part of the trail relocation package. The trail accesses the Indian Creek drainage and is located in the central portion of the Madison range approximately nine miles southeast of Cameron, Montana. 

The Indian Creek trail crosses private land just prior to entering the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. The Forest Service and the private landowner, Wonder Ranch L.L.C., have identified a possible new location for the trail on the south side of Indian Creek. Private landowners have offered access across their land for the new Indian Creek trail location. In addition Wonder Ranch L.L.C. would donate access to the South Indian Creek drainage.

A little background information is warranted to understand this proposal. Due to steep topography, the existing Indian Creek trail and the Wonder Ranch residence are in very close proximity to one another. Currently the trail is located less than 100 feet from their home and runs through the middle of the lawn.

In past years, various options have been reviewed to adjust the location of the trail in order to separate the public use from the activity of the private landowners. Past options focused on the north side of Indian Creek, but no feasible route has ever been found. Recent efforts turned to looking at possible trail locations on the south side of Indian Creek. A route was found that could meet safe trail design while not greatly increasing the length and difficulty for trail users. This new route would increase the length of the trail by approximately one half mile and would require a little over 200-foot rise in elevation. The trail would maintain less than a ten percent grade.

“This proposal has the potential to resolve a long-standing conflict on a short stretch of the Indian Creek trail, while also providing public access to the South Indian Creek drainage. I look forward to hearing from trail users what they think would be best for long-term public access in this area,” said District Ranger Sue Heald.

Members of the public who wish to comment should send letters by October 2, 2009 to: Madison Ranger District, 5 Forest Service Road, Ennis, MT 59729. For more information on this proposal you may contact Sue Heald, District Ranger, or Kevin Suzuki, Resource Assistant, at the Forest Service office in Ennis, (406) 682-4253. Comments received, including names and addresses of those who comment, will become part of the public record and available for public inspection.