Missoula County to hear Bitter Root Road petitions Nov. 3

The Missoula County Commissioners will have the opportunity to determine the fate of a controversial public access to the Bitterroot River in approximately a month and a half.

At a meeting on Nov. 3, the county commissioners will consider two competing petitions related to Bitter Root Road in the Miller Creek neighborhood. Commissioner Josh Slotnick has recused himself from the conversation after a public commenter brought up a potential conflict of interest.

One set of county residents wants to establish a river access point using the old wagon trail, while their opponents want the road to be abandoned to preserve private property bisected by the subject road.

The pair of decisions has been the subject of multiple meetings and site visits, mostly hinging around the question of whether substantially equivalent river access exists elsewhere along the waterway. Most recently, Commissioner Juanita Vero investigated the site on Sept. 6.

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Another site visit is scheduled for Oct. 25.

“Then we’ll come back with that information about those sites and whether or not those are substantially the same as provided by the road at issue,” said County Attorney John Hart at a public hearing

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