November 21-22, 2002

 

ITEM 117-1002-R1102                Grant of Easements to the U.S. Forest Service to Obtain Access to Tract of Land (Tract B of COS#5035) and Development of a Public Trail and Administrative Vehicle Access to Same Property; The University of Montana-Missoula

 

THAT:                                       Pursuant to Montana University System Policy 1003.3, the Board of Regents of the Montana University System authorizes The University of Montana-Missoula to grant the following easements to the United States Forest Service (USFS) upon purchase of Tract B of COS#5035 by the Trust for Public Land and transfer of said property to the USFS.

 

1)         Expand the current access easement width by 15 feet or the distance required to encompass the road, whichever is less, as see R-O-W Deed #D-4370, established in 1961 and recorded in book 219, page 410 (Attachment 1).

2)         Grant to the USFS the latter’s standard format road easement (Attachment 2) across UM property in NE1/4, NW1/4 of section 34 and described in R-O-W Deed # D-4370, established in 1961 and recorded in book 219, page 410.

3)         Upon written request from the USFS, grant to the USFS the latter’s standard format road easement across UM property along the East 30 feet of the SE1/4, NW1/4 of Section 34 (Attachment 3).

 

The USFS will pay for all expenses related to the design, construction, maintenance, and recording of said right-of-ways, and indemnify and hold the University harmless against all legal liabilities and costs arising from USFS activities in connection with the proposed right-of-way easements.  The President of The University of Montana will complete the easement negotiations as described after the purchase occurs, subject to final approval by the Commissioner.

 

EXPLANATION:                        The Trust for Public Land (TPL) contacted The University of Montana-Missoula (Attachment 4, memorandum dated 9/5/02) as part of TPL’s effort to acquire the last large tract of land remaining on Mount Sentinel.  TPL’s purpose for attempting to acquire the Cox property (Tract B of COS#5035) is to place this property into public ownership and utilize it for the benefit of open space and outdoor recreation.  It is TPL’s intent to purchase this 475-acre tract of land and transfer it to the United States Forest Service.

 

To develop the potential of this tract of land, good access for the public and the United States Forest Services is necessary.  TPL proposes that The University of Montana- Missoula grant the United States Forest Service enhancements to existing right-of-way easements and a new easement.  These easements will not occur until the land is purchased and transferred to the United States Forest Service.

 

TPL’s requests include:

 

1)         Expand the width of the current easement by 15 feet in the R-O-W Deed from 1961 to encompass the actual route of the current access road.

2)         Expand the easement rights of the R-O-W Deed easement to include administrative access by vehicles for weed and fire control, maintenance, and emergencies, and allow non-vehicular public access (foot and bicycles). These additional rights will be accomplished by enacting a USFS Standard Easement Agreement (Attachment 2).

3)         TLP is also asking that the USFS be granted the same type of easement access along the east side of the University golf course property located in the SE1/4, NW1/4 of section 34, in the event that an easement agreement with the property owner east of the University property cannot be obtained.

 

By granting the easement requests, The University of Montana-Missoula will benefit from enhanced recreational opportunities for the University community.  Second, the cost of developing and maintaining the access road will be the responsibility of the United States Forest Service.  Third, the development of the access road and granting of easement enhancements will provide The University of Montana with better administrative access to other University property on Mount Sentinel.  Finally, the loss of control of this portion of the University golf course property will have a negligible effect on the University’s ability to utilize the golf course property due to the small amount of land involved, its eastern-most location on the property, and the terrain on which it is located (Attachment 5).

 

ATTACHMENTS:                       1)         R-O-W Deed #D4370 1961, Book 219, Page 410;

2)         United States Forest Service Standard Format Road Easement;

3)         Proposed R-O-W Deed Easement on Section SE1/4, NW1/4 of Section 34;

4)         Trust for Public Land Memorandum to The University of Montana-Missoula Dated 9/5/02; and

5)         Aerial Photograph of The University of Montana Golf Course and relative location of the easement.