HAMILTON, Mont. - After more than 20 years of volunteer work, a project on the status of Ravalli County roads is done.
A database in the clerk and recorder's office provides up-to-date information on county roads. The information is accessible on a computer in the clerk and recorder's office. But in coming months, it's expected to be available in most county departments.
Volunteers gathered historical information on more than 500 miles of roads in the county. That's a lot of roads, it was a monumental task. Volunteers worked a few hours every week in all those years.
"I did not think it would be going on for 20 years," said volunteer and retired engineer Ron McCann.
McCann compiled the data after two friends, Ray Karr and Gary Nelson, did the research. Nelson has since passed away.
"We had to look at records that went back to the 1800s," said McCann.
Ravalli County roads are often of concern, and have become more so as the county's population increases.
"More subdivisions go in," said McCann, "you have to look at the surrounding roads leading to the subdivisions."
The clerk and recorder's office can get people started on their individual research. And they do help, but it is time consuming, with myriad questions. Is theirs a county road, or a private one? Can their neighbor put up a gate closing them off?
McCann's database may help answer many of those questions.
"He saves my staff time," said clerk and recorder Regina Plettenberg. "My office doesn't have time to do that type of research."
McCann takes no stand on any possible road disputes. The database just provides information.