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Federal court orders opening of gates on Teaters Road as access legal dispute continues

Blue line is the main Teaters Road, red is New Road, green is secondary road; green circles are gate locations
Prineville District BLM (file)
Blue line is the main Teaters Road, red is New Road, green is secondary road; green circles are gate locations

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) — A federal district court issued an order on May 17 requiring Waibel Ranches to allow the public and the government the use of Teaters Road, the Bureau of Land Management said Wednesday. The BLM's Prineville District said it "is pleased to announce that the gates blocking Teaters Road were opened on Wednesday, June 1st, and will remain open, in line with the federal court’s order."  

Teaters Road provides a direct connection between Highway 380 north to the BLM North Fork Crooked River area and the Ochoco National Forest. These areas provide numerous recreational opportunities and are important for timber production. Teaters Road also provides the only public access to a 160-acre “island” parcel of BLM-administered public land. 

“Maintaining legal, public access to public lands is important to the BLM,” said acting District Manager Mike Decker. “The court’s order restores public access to well-loved recreation destinations and important timber production areas.” 

The ability of the public to use Teaters Road will be welcome news for those affected by the temporary closure of the Forest Service 42 Road, the BLM said in its announcement. 

Despite the order and gates opening, the access dispute that dates back eight years is not over. BLM Prineville Public Affairs Officer Kaitlyn Webb confirmed that the "litigation is still ongoing."

The Prineville District of BLM said it appreciates the support it has received from both the public and many key partners throughout the effort to restore access to Teaters Road. Those partners include the United States Attorney’s Office, Ochoco National Forest, Crook County Court, Oregon Hunters Association, and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.  

The public is reminded to be respectful when using Teaters Road to access the federal public lands. Teaters Road is bordered by private land owned by Waibel Ranches. Members of the public should drive slowly and be mindful of the presence of cattle, the BLM said. 

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