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hatchetation
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hatchetation
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PostMon Oct 30, 2017 7:35 pm 
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I think the discussing is getting muddy here because we're really discussing a few separate things.

Token Civilian wrote:
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

Where is that? Not WA or CA, at least. Trespassers here don't need to perfect their claims by bringing suit before exercising their rights. See Dumond v. Vietnamese Baptist Church, where the church gated an unofficial alleyway after years of uncontentious use, and the neighbor Dumond breaks the fence down. Case is ruled in favor of Dumond on appeal. Does he pay for the damage? No, because "the easement was established by 1977, well before the fences were first constructed."

See also, Connolly v. Trabue.

The court in the Wonder Ranch case suggests that the criteria for a prescriptive easement were reached as early as the 1950s, even before the purchase by the current owners. This isn't a case where someone accidentally grants the neighboring business a prescriptive easement over their parking lot for accepting deliveries because they were too nice about it all those years.

My example isn't complex or uncertain - it's a lot from a late 19th century plat with public road dedication normal for the time. Deed and legal description are by reference to the plat. Half that road is mine. Seattle didn't own it prior to the plat, they don't own it now. Theft!

Anyone who purchases property without research and blindly assumes they're getting a fully unencumbered bundle of rights gets what they deserve.

Token Civilian, it sounds like your main point of contention is a general dislike of prescriptive easements?
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Token Civilian
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PostMon Oct 30, 2017 9:19 pm 
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Well, it sounds like you just agreed with me, given the case you stated.  They actually had to have it adjudicated in court.  As stated in my post, to repeat, a person may have a CLAIM to a prescriptive easement, but unless and until it's settled in court, it doesn't exist, at least not legally.  USFS needs to get off their butts and sue, or shut up.  As for places with no claim to a prescriptive easement, those griping about lack of access need to be directing their gripes to the US Government to legally obtain said access, not at the people who's private property is being trespassed upon.

In re your property, given the fact you state:

The plat dedicated (deeded) any road to the public.  Perhaps the county at the time, but since you are in the city, it's theirs now, not yours.

Period.  That's the fact of the matter. 

Doubly so if your legal description is something of the form "Lot 2, Block 4, Jones Subdivision, Volume 1 of Plats, Pages 2 and 3, Records of King County, Washington" or similar. 

Now, if it says somewhere in there something along the lines of "...together with the west half of the vacated alley [street] adjoining...." then in fact the road or alley is vacated, which is a different matter.   Not vacated?  Nope....owned by the public.
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RodF
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PostTue Oct 31, 2017 2:28 pm 
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Token Civilian wrote:
As stated in my post, to repeat, a person may have a CLAIM to a prescriptive easement, but unless and until it's settled in court, it doesn't exist, at least not legally.

False.  Please read the court's ruling.  It does not create an easement.  The ruling is very explicit: it recognizes an easement that has already existed for half a century or more, and orders it be recorded.

"The prescriptive easement claim by the Defendants [USFS] on behalf of themselves and the public is proven to exist and to continue to exist.  It was established by open, notorious, exclusive, adverse, continuous, and uninterrupted use for the statutory period of 5 years by no later than 1973... An easement adequate and sufficient to accommodate the unimpeded and continued historical use continues to exist today... In accordance with Montana law, the scope and location of the easement are defined and limited to its historical uses during the prescriptive period.  These uses included USFS trail maintenance, USFS inspection of hunting camps, hiking, horseback riding, and leading strings of pack animals.  The location of the Trail has remained unchanged since before the statutory period of prescription and shall be the officially recorded location of the easement across the Property." WONDER RANCH, LLC v. U.S.

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RodF
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PostTue Oct 31, 2017 3:20 pm 
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Humptulips wrote:
I know in MT they do not allow corner crossing. In many cases all it would take is an easement 8 feet long.*

This is not clear.  See Montana Outdoors' article Finding a Way In and scroll down to "The corner crossing debate" which says "The courts have yet to rule on the matter."

Another article in Great Falls Tribune says "It’s a gray area of the law...  Landowners argue that by crossing at the corner, you trespass on the air space above the private land."  Conflicting bills to clarify this question (either allowing "corner crossing" or declaring it trespass) have been introduced in the Montana state legislature, but neither has passed.

p.s. Corner-crossing is not at issue in the Wonder Ranch ruling discussed above.

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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Bernardo
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Bernardo
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PostTue Oct 31, 2017 4:32 pm 
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Congress should enact universal access to all large parcels.  Already exists in several countries and works well.  It would be a step toward correcting one of our original sins.
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Humptulips
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PostTue Oct 31, 2017 7:14 pm 
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Thank you RodF,
That was a great article you linked.
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Sculpin
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PostWed Nov 01, 2017 8:18 am 
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Since the topic of corner crossing came up here, does anyone know the law in Washington State?  I try to avoid trespassing, but have done this twice, once in the Tunk and once up Antoine Creek.  I had actually talked to the public land manager for the WDFW in the Antoine Creek instance, and he said "if any landowners give you grief, tell them I said you have access rights."  The only way in to where I was going requires corner crossing.

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Humptulips
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PostThu Nov 02, 2017 11:07 am 
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Sculpin wrote:
Since the topic of corner crossing came up here, does anyone know the law in Washington State?  I try to avoid trespassing, but have done this twice, once in the Tunk and once up Antoine Creek.  I had actually talked to the public land manager for the WDFW in the Antoine Creek instance, and he said "if any landowners give you grief, tell them I said you have access rights."  The only way in to where I was going requires corner crossing.

It seems the law has been rewritten slightly although I am not aware of actual Legislative changes so it now seems confusing to me but up until a year ago you could not be charged for trespass if the land was unimproved and it was not conspicuously posted. Improved included a fence or a field that was cultivated.
Not sure if that helps or not but I am pretty sure there is no actual reference to corner crossing in WA law.
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