The RS2477 Threat

Lands at Risk

Threats to
Private Property



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San Bernardino County Goes After Federal Lands

2001.  In California, an aggressive effort by San Bernardino County to survey specific routes and map claims—including wagon roads, trails, and horse and footpaths—has resulted in 2,567 miles of road claims in the Mojave National Preserve and another 2,419 miles elsewhere in the California desert. The Mojave National Preserve is home to colored sand dunes, mile-high mountains, bighorn sheep, and the endangered desert tortoise.  Read San Bernardino County's September 18, 2001, resolution in which it claims as "constructed highways" any "trails, horse trails, hiking trails and footpaths" used by the public as "constructed highways" under RS 2477.

 2003:  San Bernardino County continues to leave the door open for expanding foot trails into highways through National Park Service lands, but promises to be 'very judicious' in pushing forward its claims (whatever that means). Read a May 14, 2003, letter from the chairman of the San Bernardino County Commission.

Read an opinion piece from November 16, 2003, about the threat to the Mojave.

 2004:  Pursuing bogus RS 2477 claims squanders taxpayers' money and undermines the recreation economy of Southern California's desert community, argues a June 21, 2004, op-ed in the Press Enterprise.

 2006:  San Bernardino County begins its march toward the courthouse, filing a notice of intent to sue over a dozen or so routes on April 4, 2006.

San Bernardino follows through, filing suit to 14 routes on October 26, 2006.  See their complaint with maps of each route, all of which cut through the Mojave National Preserve.   Read a January 2007 article about the suit and a stinging January 21, 2007, editorial from the San Bernardino County Sun calling the lawsuit “largely pointless.” 

 Learn more about the Mojave Preserve at

2007:  A Central District of California judge granted conservation groups intervention in San Bernardino County's case seeking title to a dozen routes inside the Mojave National Preserve. This is the third Quiet Title Act (QTA) case involving R.S. 2477 claims in California in recent months in which the groups have won the right to bring the public interest to the table. Read the October 23, 2007 Opinion. And a press release.

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