From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 4, Number 39 - December 23, 3004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

County pursues easements for LaBarge Creek Road

by Cat Urbigkit

Sublette County Commission Chairman Gordon Johnston has worked on attempting to secure easements on five parcels of property located in Sublette County along the LaBarge Creek Road, he reported at Tuesday's commission meeting.

In response to the county's request for easements from each of the landowners, Johnston said that three landowners have said yes, one said maybe and one said no. He reported that the landowners who said no are Bob and Karen Harrower, and that it was an adamant no.

With Tuesday being his last official meeting, and his term ending at the end of the year, Johnston asked his fellow commissioners, "Who wants to become the officer in charge of the LaBarge Creek Road?"

County Commissioner Bill Cramer said he would call Bob Harrower to discuss the matter, since "he's the one who's going to hold it up apparently."

Johnston said that as far as he's concerned, the sooner the county declares the road to be a county road at least through these three or four places, the better, lest "it could turn out exactly like Blatt."

Commissioner Betty Fear suggested the county get the easements from the landowners who have verbally agreed, "then if we decide to go ahead and take some kind of action ... maybe in the next two years, we can get this one finished."

The county commission has stated that it is not willing to buy the easements from the landowners.

The Harrowers wrote a letter denying the county's request for an easement, but expressing their appreciation for the county's concern for the public and public access.

The Harrowers wrote: "We also wish, and intend for, the public to have the continued use of this road across our property as they have had since the 20s or 30s. As you are now aware, there has never been any attempt to stop, limit, or impair the public's use of this road. However, public use is not the problem. The problem is maintenance and repair. The Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service and now Sublette County have expressed interest in securing a right of way, but no one wants to maintain it.

"Our answer, then, is simply no, we will not grant a right of way to Sublette County or any other governmental agency," the letter stated. "We feel the public's interest and continued use will better be guaranteed if control of this road remains in our private ownership."

The Harrowers noted that at least four agencies use the road and administer or control portions of the road, yet: "None of these four entities fix or maintain the road which they use and are responsible for. It would not make sense for us to give more road for them not to maintain."

The Harrowers also noted that Sublette County has very little responsibility for the road, since it begins and ends in Lincoln County and serves only five private property owners in Sublette County. They suggested the better solution would be to have the agencies involved come to an agreement to repair and maintain the road.

The Harrowers suggested: "If they want to use it, then they fix it. It they don't want to use it, then don't fix it."

Quick Commission Notes:

At Tuesday's Sublette County Commission meeting, held in the Marbleton annex, County Road Superintendent Travis Sour reported that the county will be working with the Wyoming Department of Transportation this spring on planning for the possible reconstruction and realignment of Calpet and Paradise roads.

The commission officially signed the Erramouspe Road easement agreement with the Bureau of Land Management.

The commission did not enact a new resolution dealing with grizzly bear occupancy. Instead, Sublette County Clerk Mary Lankford pulled out a resolution enacted by the commission in 2003 that declared that both grizzly bears and gray wolves are economically and socially unacceptable within the bounds of Sublette County. The commission agreed to send the existing resolution, along with a cover letter, to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department as part of the state agency's public comment process for its grizzly bear occupancy proposal.

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