The RS2477 Threat

Lands at Risk

Threats to
Private Property



Act Now!




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In 1997, Idaho BLM estimated that there were about 2,000 miles of pending claims for public highways across public lands under RS 2477, including claims inside designated Forest Service wilderness. A November 2002 BLM booklet on “Road Management and Maintenance Guidelines” concurred that there were “thousands” of claimed RS 2477 highways across public lands in Idaho.

Since then, Boise County has claimed more than 200 routes as "constructed public highways," though the county admits most of them are only "trails," not "roads." Teton County, ID, has claimed hundreds more.

In late 2004, Idaho County published a map showing that it claims more than 4,600 miles of routes as “constructed highways.” This map shows more than 2,000 miles of claimed highways in designated wilderness, including the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness. It also includes nearly 900 miles of “constructed highways” in areas the US Forest Service Identified as “Roadless” just four years ago. Note: The map takes a fair amount of time to load, and may not work on all systems. Windows users can right-click and save the file on their computers, which often works better.

In 2006, a state court in Idaho handed down a decision in a case involving a claimed RS 2477 right-of-way, Galli v. Idaho County (June 2, 2006).  The case is interesting because it shows the extremes to which county governments in Idaho will go in support of questionable claims.  In this case, Idaho County supported a mining company's attempt to tear down a gate on private land to gain access to a mining claim on adjacent Forest Service land.  While the county had decided that evidence from a few old maps, and evidence of homes and communities in the area a century ago, supported a finding that a right-of-way existed -- an argument pushed by other extreme counties across the West -- the court rejected that conclusion as inconsistent with state law.  The court ruled the evidence was not enough to show a public highway was created at a specific location and sent the decision back to the county commission for it to take action consistent with the ruling.  But the county still claimed the road is public. Most recently, the court confirmed its June ruling on January 25, 2007, when it overturned the county commission’s decision, read a Capital Press article about the Gallis' land.



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