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Off-roaders May Gain Access To More Roads And Trails

Rick

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Interior Secretary Gale Norton issued an order that could eventually open thousands of miles of roads and trails to “right-of-way” claims brought by state and county governments under an old mining law known as “RS 2477.” RS 2477 claims are based on the fact that the subject road or trail has been in continuous use since before the land was designated as federal property.

At issue is a dispute over how the term “continuous use” is defined. The federal government had argued that such lands must have been mechanically constructed. Utah and other states or local jurisdictions have a more liberal definition that is based only on use. The federal government will now defer to state or local law. The order applies to the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies within the Interior Department and could lead to more claims on roads and trails in national parks, wildlife refuges, national monuments and wilderness areas.

Last September, a federal appeals court ruled that state definitions supersede federal rules. The case in point are RS 2477 claims brought by Garfield, Kane and San Juan counties in Utah for rights-of-way in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The lawsuit has been sent back to a lower court for another trial.
 
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GJarrett

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Chief GPS'um and Still Lost Native Texan
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'99 EB 4x4 "Herc" RIP
*fingers crossed and knees bent praying*
 
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