Contributors to this thread:
BLM and private land road access
I keep running into areas that are checkboard private and BLM (and some state land). What are some ideas to help "guess" what roads are open across private land simply by looking at a map or topo? So far I notice that slid line roads and county roads are open. Just about everything else is not. Google maps seems to have nothing that gives any hints.
On X might be useful to you.
Go to the county website and see which ones are listed, maintained, numbered roads.
County roads are open and legal if a two track cuts through private it’s not legal. I use my gps with a on x chip in it and it works great. Around here you better know what your on or you’ll probably get a ticket. This is big country around here and if your on someone’s private land and say his ranch is 50,000 acres or more and he lives 50 miles away all the other ranchers know who’s ok to be on the two tracks and they call the LO. Next thing you know here comes the man or a friend to talk to you about it. Ask me how I know......
lol jdee I was in Montana on a private ranch setting up a blind on water hole when I was suddenly surrounded by trucks and armed mean looking men lol Main rancher forgot to tell everyone else I was coming and had his permission ! Not sure where they would have buried me if I didn't !!
Steve H x2.
Many counties will have pdf maps or GIS layers on their parcel maps which show public roads. Google search the county and state and "gis".
County road department or online for his layers in the county you plan to hunt.
Guessing will get you a ticket.
I don’t like to guess so I get the county roads from the county and Blm road data (easement start and stop) from the nearest blm.
Any state it "seems" the same in WY, NV and NM. County road research is ok but many times I head into a huge area and simply want to look at a map and make an educated guess. OnX maps does not do this. Best I find is anything that says if it is a county road, not hard to figure out. I am hoping for better guesses to roads that are not county.
It sounds like many are agreeing with me - county roads are open and 2 tracks rarely are - on private.
Be careful assuming any road is public less interstate and state highways. You could be easily mistaken.
This past fall in WY, I had a road marked public on my map but when I got there my friend, who has lived there since the early 90s thought the road was private. I didn't want to trespass so we didn't hunt it without confirmation. Luckily he knew the guy at the road department and he was able to call and confirm that it actually was a county road. So it goes both ways....roads you think are private may not be and roads you think aren't could possibly be.
I had a similar experience as Bowfreak in WY. The road had No Trespassing signs on both sides at the cattleguard and went through a big ranch. When I saw a truck drive through with a couple hunters, I found a nearby ranch house and asked the rancher. Sure enough, it was an access easement to reach NF on the other side of the ranch, but technically not a county road.
On the link I provided above, select 'Tabular Searches'
It will then take you to a page where you can search easements via the County/Township/Range
Its not fast, but the info you may want could be there
I hate WY trespass laws....makes no sense to me in a state with a lot of public land. Everybody doesn't need to be a land surveyor and need to search county records to figure this stuff out. Utah's law makes sense to me. If it's not gated, posted, obviously private or cultivated Agg land, you can drive on it, hike on it or camp if you want to. If the land owner tells you to leave you have to, but there isn't a fine or anything (it can cause confrontation though). I think a reasonable effort from a land owner to keep people out isn't asking too much. I have had snobby neighbors try to prevent me from accessing the foothills on the east side of SLC and I know it's owned by the city, then a small section of private and then national forest. I used to trespass there all the time.
I disagree ben h. Why should someone have to go the extra effort to post their land? It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to not trespass. If there is land that is accessible to the public then it is the public's responsibility to access it without infringing on the rights of others.
Also....am I reading this correctly in that you are admitting to purposely trespassing and playing that off as that it is ok since you had snobby neighbors that wouldn't allow you to cross their property?
The only people in NM that can trespass any time they want on any property they want and don’t have to .....pack it in , pack it out just throw it on the ground and go are all the illegals coming across the border. You drive down a two track on private by mistake during elk season and watch what happens......criminal trespass.
ben h, it is pretty simple to know where you are and stay off land and roads you aren't not supposed to be on. Do a tiny bit of research a head of time and there won't be any problems.
Just a word about B.L.M., Just because your hunt software on your gps shows yellow on both sides, doesn't mean you will be able to park. You may run into " No parking next 10 miles either side" signs which in my opinion really suck.
treepasser: what if your truck breaks down with a flat tire and you are forced to pull over and wait all day for someone to come help? ;o) wink wink LOL
Be very careful with OnX. I have found errors, mismarked and labeled roads. Could be quite frustrating. Private signed gated roads shown as public - open and 2-track USFS trails with seasonal hunting closures marked "roads open to all vehicles year round" Wow !!
Bowfeeak, WYelkhunter, It's been a few days since I've been on here so let me try to clarify. In Utah, some of the counties are 90%+ public land with almost no private, so you actually need to try to trespass and it takes almost zero effort if any for the private owners to put something up to show it's private, in which case you can't trespass. This can be as simple as a no trespass sign every 1/2 mile or so, or it can be simply having a building on the property. In the east or other parts of the country there is a very high percentage of private land so the opposite is true and if you're on land at all it's almost certainly privately owned and you shouldn't be on it unless you own it. I'm not sure if it's the same in all western states, but in UT if you want to keep cattle from grazing on your property it's up to you to build a fence to keep cows out (we spend about $9k/year fixing our fence at our cabin to keep about 300 cows out that the rancher pays the feds something like $1.75/head/month so about $2.6k/year of grazing fees). The land I was referring to that I trespass on, you'd never even know it's private unless you look it up. It does sort of landlock public land and is an old mining claim from the 1800's that can't be used, never has, never will and the owner has not done anything with it, so apparently they don't care if I cross it because they've never told me that it's private. The people who have told me don't own it either, they just tell me it's private and I can't access there and I tell them to call the police or whomever and report me and I give them my name and contact info and since the late 1980's I've been doing this and I haven't had to discuss anything with law enforcement. These are multi-million $ homeowners too, so I'm sure they have the clout to get law enforcement's attention. The land is totally worthless from a development standpoint too due to SLC building restrictions (too high of slope and elevation that it encroaches on winter wildlife range).
Ok ben. Makes more sense now. So the neighbors don't own the property and the owners don't care.
Jac. sometimes landowners post at the cattle guards to show a pasture change and are not trying to post the road as private. It is merely to show the land beside the road is posted.
And never follow roads on your GPS, they are not accurate as far as depicting private vs public.
so if there's a road easement through private land, that means essentially that road is public? I can drive it, just can't stop and hunt, just use it to get across the private?
Yes. But remember that road easements sometimes have terms, which can expire. The easement wording must have "in perpetuity" to be permanent.
OnX. Accurate so far in Land and Parcel Determination. Not so accurate in detail on private or public roads determination. Also, many public roads close up for Hunting season. If you are on a public land, the road should be public. On private land better check real well as stated above. County and USFS maps. OnX is WRONG on many private/public roads that I have viewed.
OnX not reliable enough for public/private land determination in many parts of the country. The records aren't real time. I know of several properties in my area that are years behind.
So far OnX has been gold for me. Just roads are a issue Finding LOTS of state and BLM that connect, just have to find ways to it. One new section is about 8000 acres total, but need to find a way in from the other side
ON X has been very good for me for a few years as well. Most savy guys realize you need to combine those tools with common sense, ask questions once in a while re: roads etc. Expecting perfection from all the data involved is pretty unrealistic. There's no such thing. Kinda like Monty Python's search....