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Humptulips
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PostThu Oct 26, 2017 8:33 pm 
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https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/realestate/this-land-is-no-longer-your-land/ar-AAu3Cko?li=BBnb7Kz
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Waterman
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PostFri Oct 27, 2017 12:43 am 
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The montization of public lands by controlling access. Hot button issue sure to raise everyones passion.
The fact that the Koch money is behind this is a red flag. I seem to recall one of the brothers has a ranch with a public road that runs through his land. That fact  irritates him and has lead him to finance legislation restrictioning public access.

England has a law that allows the public the right of passage over private land.
Now is the time to contact your representative.
This promises to be an interesting theard.

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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.
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treeswarper
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PostFri Oct 27, 2017 4:55 am 
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That's a worse threat than raising fees to get into national parks.  I posted it in the national park fee thread, but no comments on it. 

We had a guy here who tried to scare people away by posting No Trespassing signs and some threatening signs on a FS system road when part of it was washed out.  Like the article says, he wanted his own private playground.  The guy had no case and it just caused a headache for the FS law enforcement people who had to deal with it.  And that was on a well used, except when washed out, system road!   The road was fixed and his signs taken down.  I am not sure if he was fined for his misunderstanding of the rules.

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Token Civilian
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PostFri Oct 27, 2017 5:25 am 
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Yawn.  The solution is simple, yet no one wants to do it.

Hello, lovers of all thing Government.  There is a process for this....anyone?  Bueller?  Those evil dead, white, male, slave owners that wrote the Constitution figured it out way back when.....

Buy the damn easement.  Owner won't sell?  Eminent domain and pay market rate + 10% to demonstrate and actually have good faith that you're not out to screw the land owner.

What, don't want to spend money?  Tough cookies.....private property is private.  Quit imposing general public costs on individuals.

I don't have the right to traipse through my neighbors back yard to get to the adjoining park in the city, why is the principal any different out in the more wild lands?  Right....it's not.

Why is this so hard to figure out.  Oh, wait....answered that.  Greed from those that don't want to pay for what is rightfully someone else's property.
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jinx'sboy
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PostFri Oct 27, 2017 6:07 am 
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These cases are NOT about the government trying to seize private land.

There are about private individuals trying to control or deny access to adjacent public land through blockage of either deeded or prescriptive easements or rights of way held for the public by those agencies.  In some cases those accesses predate even the first private land claims (e.g. prior to homestead entries, patented mining claim)

This is currently happening on multiple fronts in Okanogan County.

Often, it is a case of a wimpy local agency official who is loathe to cross some of the “good ole boys” or create any waves.  S/He decides to be less than zealous about defending the public access.  Invariably, the public looses.
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thunderhead
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PostFri Oct 27, 2017 6:58 am 
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Landowners who try to grab public lands in this fashion are complete slimeballs.  Run into this in WY/MT for hunting season.  They will block off public lands, and then try to charge you 1000 dollars to access it.

Now obviously its impractical and unfair to try and force access to every one of those little parcels, especially where such access never existed before... but large chunks of public lands should have their access roads declared public, especially in cases where that access has been present in the past.
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hatchetation
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PostFri Oct 27, 2017 9:37 am 
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Token Civilian wrote:
Buy the damn easement.

That doesn't make any sense. The whole point of easements is to provide access to property without fee simple ownership. You can't go through your neighbor's backyard to get to the park because there isn't an easement there.

It isn't a rural vs urban thing. The land I live on is in central Seattle, and the lot includes property through the center line of the street. I can't tear up, gate, or restrict access to that part of the property because of the easements.

Do you really think I should go to the greedy Seattle council and demand they buy the street from me for fair market value + 10%? The property is rightfully mine, afterall.
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Ski
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PostFri Oct 27, 2017 9:45 am 
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^ Depends upon how the deed was written. The parcel of land I grew up on (on South Sheridan Street) included the western half of the street in front of the house.
When the City of Tacoma decided they wanted to install a new water line along the west side of the street (which would have required removing two 40-foot-tall black locust trees in our front yard), we blocked the street with our cars.
After some negotiations with the job foreman and the Tacoma Police Department *, they cut the ditch along the west side of the street to within about 20 feet of the property, then zig-zagged over to the east side of the street (in front of Mr. Hutchins house), down the east side, and then zig-zagged back over the west side about 20 feet south of the southern property line.

So yeah: if you own the street, you own the street.

In the case of access to public lands, it's the "checkerboard ownership" that is the root cause of the problem - obviously they didn't think it through when they came up with the idea, and now it will need to be resolved.

(* and yes, I believe I still have the newspaper clipping of the story, complete with photograph - the Tribune sent a reporter and a photographer out. *)

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MtnGoat
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PostFri Oct 27, 2017 12:06 pm 
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Quote:
The montization of public lands by controlling access

http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8025871&view=newest

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RodF
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PostFri Oct 27, 2017 12:42 pm 
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There's no basis for debate here.  This case has been decided.

"The earliest record of the Trail's existence is a United States Geological Survey map from 1888... The Trail also appears on a map of the Gallatin Forest Reserve published in 1905... On October 1, 1936, the United States patented to Denny Wonder the Wonder Ranch Property under the Homestead Act of 1862.
The prescriptive easement claim by the Defendants [USFS] on behalf of themselves and the public is proven to exist and to continue to exist... An easement adequate and sufficient to accommodate the unimpeded and continued historical use continues to exist today."
WONDER RANCH, LLC v. U.S.

The trail has been in continuous use by the public for more than a century, long before the property was homesteaded and became private property.

p.s. to Ski: this isn't about who owns the property, but whether the public has a preexisting easement to use and maintain the trail across it.  Consider how many private homesteads the Queets Trail crossed; did the public continue to have a right to use it?  Yes.  It is not a matter of "how the deed was written"; this prescriptive easement exists whether or not there was ever any written permissive easement attached to the deed.

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Humptulips
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Humptulips
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PostFri Oct 27, 2017 4:33 pm 
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Rod,
All true but I think the article raises a larger issue. Should the Federal government take a more aggressive role in defending these easements?
I found it dismaying that private citizens cited for trespass seemed to be left on their own to defend the trail easement. I wish the USFS or BLM would intervene on behalf of a person cited for using one of these trails.
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Humptulips
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Humptulips
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PostFri Oct 27, 2017 4:43 pm 
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thunderhead wrote:
Now obviously its impractical and unfair to try and force access to every one of those little parcels, especially where such access never existed before


So why shouldn't the public be allowed access to these lands no matter the size? There should be policy to acquire easements when the opportunity presents itself.
I know in MT they do not allow corner crossing. In many cases all it would take is an easement 8 feet long.
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Pyrites
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PostFri Oct 27, 2017 7:01 pm 
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The FS just shrugs and moves onto other issues. The great trail from the Cowlitz Valley all the way up to Purcell is cut off this way.

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Token Civilian
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Token Civilian
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PostMon Oct 30, 2017 5:39 am 
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hatchetation wrote:
Token Civilian wrote:
Buy the damn easement.

That doesn't make any sense. The whole point of easements is to provide access to property without fee simple ownership. You can't go through your neighbor's backyard to get to the park because there isn't an easement there.

It isn't a rural vs urban thing. The land I live on is in central Seattle, and the lot includes property through the center line of the street. I can't tear up, gate, or restrict access to that part of the property because of the easements.

Do you really think I should go to the greedy Seattle council and demand they buy the street from me for fair market value + 10%? The property is rightfully mine, afterall.

You clearly don't understand the concept of an easement in this context.  An easement is a right to use another's real property for a specific purpose.  The case in point in Montana would require an easement for "ingress and egress".  This isn't unheard of in the context of trails.  Of the 2650 miles of the PCT, about 10% of that crosses private land.  There are easements for nearly all of those private land miles.  Those miles that don't have easements are on extremely shaky grounds.

In your personal case, I'd bet a dollar against a donut that the specifics are one of two cases:
That your property was subdivided from a larger parcel, there is a private road and that road is in fact an easement for "ingress, egress and utilities".  That's how it's typically done.  Or, if it's not a recent (last 40 years) small subdivision, then in fact you likely don't own that road and it was dedicated to the public (e.g. deeded) when the original plat (subdivision) was done back in the day.  In either case, a proper right of passage, either by fee ownership of the public or created easement in favor of the benefiting parcels exists.   So, I'd bet you are owed nothing.  Go read your title report. 

In Montana, by contrast, it would appear that many of these public parcels that are landlocked by private property have zero established easements for access.  In that case, the proper course of action is to purchase said access.

(8 years in the Title Insurance business, many years ago.....)
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Token Civilian
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PostMon Oct 30, 2017 11:49 am 
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I'll also add that in re the prescriptive easement argument - the USFS (or anyone for that matter) doesn't just get to declare that it's there and traipse across another persons private property....something like that would almost certainly need to be litigated into existence as a matter of public record on the land title.

Example - if one neighbor has been crossing a neighbors property for decades, they have a strong CLAIM of a prescriptive easement, but don't actually HAVE an easement until such time as they sue to quiet title to said easement.  The judgement issued from the court case then establishes the record on the land title as to the existence of the easement.

Also, that a route may have existed before the land title was originally patented doesn't necessarily mean that the route / ROW wasn't vacated upon sale, unless in the patent the right of way was reserved to the public.

Example:  Next week, that evil SOB Trump sells Section 30, Township 23N, Range 11E to "Mega-Mining, Marmot Mashing and McMansion Construction Corp" and doesn't reserve to the public existing rights of way in the form of the trails across that section.  In that scenario, more or less kiss access to Snow Lake "buh-bye" from the Alpental area.  Just because the Government "lets" us access "their" land, doesn't mean that right of public access continues once they sell it to a private party, unless said access in favor of the public is explicitly reserved as part of the sale.  Reasonably, when a person buys land, they're buying ALL the rights to it, to include access rights, unless said reserved rights are enumerated and reserved.  A typical example of reserved rights is mineral rights.

Don't like it?  Fine.  Follow the law to gain the access.  Sue to establish as a matter of indisputable public record any and all supposed prescriptive easements.  Where that can't be done pay for the taking of the private property rights either through voluntary transaction for the easement or to sue using eminent domain.  Public costs should be borne by the public.  Don't be greedy and try and impose public costs onto individual citizens.
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