Group Wants Public Access to Big 5

A group called PLUC, which stands for Public Land User Committee, wants the people of the greater Sheridan and Johnson county area to band together to fund a road and parking lot on a piece of public land.

Ted Lapis is a member of the committee. He said the public land in question is called the Big 5 Sections and lies west of Lake DeSmet, but is surrounded by private land. So, anyone who wants to use the area, even hunters who have a state license, must receive permission from the adjacent private land owners to access the site. He said the area covers what he called a significant amount of acreage.

He said it's not just a problem for the hunters, but for anyone who wants to use the area for any type of outdoors activity, like hiking, camping and fishing. So he thinks any business that caters to that segment of the population should be interested in creating a public access into the spot.

Accessing the area across private lands has been the situation for years, he said, since the 1920s, but became an issue, as of late, because of recent land transactions that could change access. So, he said, it's time a public access route was established. He said the issue will be addressed tonight, during a public meeting, set for 5:30, at the courthouse in downtown Sheridan. He said the leaders of Johnson County are not on board with the project because, he said, they told him they have other priorities.

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