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onX Hunt's Link
Locked out of 6.35 million acres of land
Americans are locked out of more than 6.35 million acres of Public Land; landlocked lands are defined as state-managed lands that cannot be accessed directly from a public road (direct access) and cannot be accessed via adjoining public land by way of a public road (indirect access). Throughout 2019, we have been working with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) to identify the extent of the landlocked problem and potential solutions of how to help make improvements. You can read more about what we have found at the link above. What are your thoughts?
In my opinion there should be no such thing as public land without public access to it. If they want to build a new highway through your property they just give you what they think your property is worth and build the highway. So why can't they do the same when it comes to accessing public lands? Buy a little strip of land from the private landowner, make a little road, and pay the landowner what that strip of land is valued at for tax purposes. Maybe not every little piece of public land, but at least to the huge tracts that are currently shut off to the public. Of course there would be no need to do this if the private landowner just allowed access in the first place.
Good work. It's a shame we can't access that land.
Irishman, in principle I agree with you. But the Fifth Amendment doesnt specify what "just compensation" is. Access to government-held land for which someone paid a super-premium price is worth considerably more than the price per acre of ordinary land without access. Its totally arbitrary based upon what someone is willing to pay for it, not rhe tax assessment. And nowhere in the Constitution or federal law does it mention that land held in the government trust must allow public access. That's something Congress would need to tackle, and even if something passed it would be held up in court challenges forever.
I see your point, Lou....
OTOH, paying a premium for private land because it creates an opportunity to exploit locked up public land.... Maybe it’s my overdeveloped sense of Virtue (and lack of funds!!!), but I have trouble coming up with any sympathy for anyone who cashes in on something that’s Just Not Right....
And thinking that you can buy private land that gives you a monopoly (or Oligopoly) on access to public land, well.... Dat Ain’t Right.
I’m not saying that private landowners owe the public EASY access or a short-cut, but to have a public parcel completely cut off from the Lawful Owners (eg John Q), well, that’s not fair & square.
But their is such thing as eminent domain.
Public land should have public access.Government shouldn't buy the land without also securing a way to it, (I understand some of the land out west was always government owned, so access becomes a different story).
Some seem to think the landowner shouldn't charge a "premium" price for enough land to build a road in, or even that they should allow access from the goodness of their heart. What constitutes a premium price? Some years ago a city not too far from me decided to connect a street. There was a farm in the way that had been there since before the city expanded. This road cut right through the middle of it. The town told the landowner they were going to build the road and not pay him anything because the increase in property value would be more than the land taken would be worth. Fortunately the courts disagreed and the owner was paid for the land. Of course to him the property value decreased with the lessened access for his farming operation.
40 years ago, the state of Missouri decided to widen the highway that ran along our farm. They took 30 acres of our best hayfields and some pretty good timber. Dad negotiated with them on the price trying to get a fair price. We didn't try to stop the expansion as a road can only be laid out in certain places. Another time, the county wanted to widen the dirt road that bisected our place. Dad said he would give them the land if they would rebuild the mile of fence that would be taken out. The county wouldn't do that and instead told the neighbors we wouldn't allow them the land to widen the road. There is a lot of cost and time involved in building fences.
As to granting free access, some of you all have never allowed someone on your land only to have them trash it. I expect you wouldn't like it to much if I had a picnic on your front yard and left a mess, shot your dog, tore up your yard, and maybe even sued you when I got hurt. Sadly there are plenty of examples where that has happened to people that allowed access or even when they were sued by trespassers that had no permission.
I agree there should be a way to access all public land, but just compensation should be required and that may even seem like a "premium" price to some of you who don't farm/ranch.
The Supreme Court has already taken away private property rights. They ruled that when a government entity deems a piece of private land can be better utilize by another private concern and then it’s perfectly ok to use eminent domain. As unbelievable as that sounds the highest court of the land says it ok. So the government doing a minor thing like creating access across private land to public land shouldn’t be a problem. It’s already set precedent by the Highest court in the land.
I believe Field & Stream did a feature a couple of years back on one such area held largest number of elk per square mile. It said most of the land was controlled by very wealthy out of state people and they somehow monitored their land and if a hunter encroached at all on these billionaires property there would be almost immediate action taken . Our country seems to be paralleling the Hunger games novel more and more.
It’s nothing new.... probably 25-30 years ago some hunters realized that the hired hands on a private ranch were hazing the Elk back onto the ranch, rather than letting them leave for public land. A TV news crew out of Denver filmed it. Nothing happened.
Nothing new then, either.
I guess you either figure it’s OK to have a different set of rules for The Rich Guys or you don’t.
I figure I don’t have to ever worry about becoming a rich guy, but even if I were, I like to think that I would be able to keep the perspective that Public means Public, and that I have no right to deny access to anything that I don’t own.
On the other hand....
My mom’s place is right on the river. If people want to fish it, that’s OK, we don’t own it.
But when you catch somebody crapping in your back yard, it does make you want to read up on the regs.....
We have a worthless 40 acre BLM patch in the middle of our property in NM. So there should be a road going to this worthless dirt? Who’s going to pay for the upkeep of this road after it gets washed-out every spring. Your tax dollars at work? What a waste.
I agree on the private with the exclusive access comment. This would be a “taking” in my eyes and they should be owed compensation, as you greatly decreased their land value. In fact, they might no longer want the land at all once everyone and their uncle now has access.
You all are opening a huge can of worms.
No need to build roads to the landlocked federal land. All that needs to be done is prohibit anyone from trespassing on federally owned land unless it is reasonably accessible to the general public. So if a private property surround a piece of federal land then the owner of the private land cannot trespass on the government land unless he provides a way for the public to also access it.
This is a simple solution that has no negative impact on the private landowner. He doesn't have to let the public cross his land and he loses none of his rights to his private property. He just doesn't get the use of the government land unless others do too.
The public access Czar will be reasonable with a small 40 acre landlocked public parcel it will get a public foot path access marked by 2 6’ tall orange and white striped posts 4’ apart every 100 yards to aid getting to the public parcel.
Or limited it to landlocked public parcel of 600 continuous acres or more and ignore or land swap smaller parcels.
As long as keep moving forward on this issue.
Aspenghost, I never thought of it that way. I think that’s a fair deal. Like you said that way nobody is being stripped of their land by the government. I understand in some situations it’s legal but it still makes me cringe saying that.
Kscowboy, I do agree with you that it probably makes no sense to put a road through your property to some "worthless dirt". However, there are lots of really good pieces of public land that are worthless to everyone (due to lack of access) except for the private landowner who surrounds it and keeps it like it's his own. Jaquomo, I was being kind of a smartass with my suggestion that the landowner only gets paid what his property taxes say the land is worth, knowing full well that most of this land is valued super cheap. So if this land in question is super premium land that is worth many times more than the tax assessment, why is that? Why are they only paying taxes on a fraction of the value of the land. I wish someone would pay me what my home is worth according to the tax assessors, or better still tax me at a value many times less than it's worth. Of course, I do realize that it is not practical to build and maintain roads to every little piece of public land. However, the bigger pieces, like the one Bigfin hunts by helicopter in Montana (Durfee Hills), should definitely have public access. If the Wilks brothers can't decide on a route to let the public access the Durfee Hills, then let the government decide for them. If the government wants to build a freeway and it means tearing down a house that some 80 year old has lived in all their life, they can do it. So why can't they put a little road through a tiny portion of property owned by some billionaire from Texas, especially when it's for the good of the public?
Wealthy landowners in sparsely populated states wield a huge influence over legislators, via campaign contributions. ("Money talks.")
There's a thread on this topic every year about this time... Lotta "should" always tossed around. Bernie Sanders and Lizzy Warren like the "should" word too. Until Congress changes the law and forces a challenge to the Supreme Court regarding the Takings Clause for hunting and fishing access, overturning previous USSC rulings, nothing will change.
Congress "should" do that. But they aren't about to do that because private property rights are sacrosanct in this country and the only people crying out for an action this monstrous are a tiny (and shrinking) minority of people who are hunters who want to get access to places they can't access now. The rest of the outdoor world (hikers, bikers, birdwatchers, campers, wildlife watchers, ATVers, mushroom hunters, tree huggers) could give two spits about this issue. So it won't go anywhere.
Land Tawney helped get his guy elected in 2008, with a supermajority in Congress, and still nothing happened. Hunters are way, way down on the priority list for politicians. Sorry to burst anyone's bubbles....
Have a good hunt this fall!
^^^ good call. Rally behind those UT guys and support the transfer of public lands to the states and private enterprise.
The rest of the outdoor world would be happy to pay to play, much like using a groomed and maintained campground since keeping public lands public isn't their MO.
jaquomo summed it up nicely
This article is all about State lands.
The majority of the State Trust Lands without public access are in Colorado. Colorado’s STL is not open to access unless it has been leased by CPW. Only 585,000 acres of the 4,200,000 acres of Colorado STL is leased by CPW for access. Colorado represents 3.6 million acres of the that 6.35 million acres without access whether it’s landlocked or not.
Accessible STL can be difficult to figure out, particularly when the leases can change from year to year and there are open and not open STL properties in close proximity.
In Colorado, you will be charged with trespassing for being on STL that is not under CPW lease. If you have taken an animal in that STL,, it is illegal and it will be confiscated and you will get cited for illegal possession. If it meets the minimum standards for the Sampson Law, you will get those additional fines piled on your plate. Hiring a lawyer will typically only cost you additional money and they typically will not do much to reduce the fines or consequences. Your fines and lawyer fees can end up being tens of thousands of dollars.
But wait, you’re not done yet, after all of the criminal charges have been settled up at court, you will have to meet with the CPW and they will decide how many years to revoke your hunting privileges - not just in Colorado but in all the rest of the states as well. Could be up to 5 years if you have a clean record with no other G&F violations on your record.
Kinda sucks, doesn’t it?
Particularly when Colorado law doesn’t require any posting of private or STL lands and you cross into a section that isn’t open from one that is or from BLM or USFS lands.
STL in most other states is all accessible for hunting and fishing.
Better be careful in Colorado!!!
Landlocked BLM, USFS, or open STL is a bit of a different issue. There are vast areas of public lands in “checkerboard” areas that have been made off limits by states making it illegal to cross corners.
if a private landowner can post their land then so can the government. maybe the land locked federal property should be posted no trespassing until something can be worked out. corner hopping onto private across public is illegal too then.
Tavis for the win. STL lands are not federal or public lands. It is important to get that detail right if you expect to change anything.
The good thing is, this current administration is working hard to mitigate some of these issues on NF and BLM and they are making headway. The sad thing is, the best way to make an impact is by trading land with the landowner. When this happens, even when it benefits the public, you will hear outcries of selling off our public lands. We need to take an honest look at every transaction. The landowner isn't going to give up his property without the government making it worth his while. It's an ongoing issue but at least we have the most pro hunting administration in my lifetime. Remember that in 2020.
As Tavis described, we have our own issues here in CO. We can't even step across state-owned land here unless one state agency pays another to allow it. How messed up is that? Gaining public access to state land would be exponentially simpler than forcing access to federal land, yet even with liberals in control of all three branches we can't get that to happen.
Hopeless Place, that would be great, except that by law an easement has to either be part of the original legal description, or voluntarily dedicated after the fact by the landowner. The government can't simply force an easement except under Eminent Domain. Recreational access doesn't qualify as a compelling reason to impose ED or force an easement. USSC already ruled on that.
Jim is correct.
This administration has opened up huge swaths of Federal public lands for hunting and fishing that has been locked down.
Would love to see a quantum shift in the NPS to be opened up for hunting but that will never happen.
We might get lucky and get National Monuments opened up though. That would be huge!