River Access is First of Fort Owen Ranch Issues
This year, Myla Yahraus of MGY Ranching became the new owner of the historic Fort Owen Ranch on the north edge of Stevensville. She and her ranch manager Kent Smartt at a news conference in November said that they wanted to work with the community to resolve access issues of two specific areas - Bitterroot River access and the historic Fort Owen State Park. One of those issues is already being addressed.
The access at the Stevensville Bridge has now been re-opened, and according to FWP Region 2 Fisheries Manager Pat Saffel, the new agreement provides a longer-term solution with initial plans for designing improvements like improved parking.
Discussions have included the Fort Owen State Park, which is along the main entrance road to the ranch and has limited parking.
Yahraus said the Fort Owen Ranch will remain a cattle ranch and farm and will retain the Ft. Owen Ranch brand. She began meeting with representatives of Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks and others last year and said that any resolution of the issues must include ongoing maintenance programs.