The RS2477 Threat

Lands at Risk

Threats to
Private Property



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New Mexico

Federal Court Rulings Protect New Mexico Wildland from Highway Claims

In 2000, off-road vehicle groups filed suit to use bogus RS 2477 claims to fight a closure of vehicle trails in a fragile wilderness study area in the Robledo Mountains near Las Cruces.

Read how off-road groups hoped  that a favorable decision for them in this case would open the floodgates to claims that could destroy roadless areas across the West.

The off-roaders' arguments did not persuade the courts.  Earthjustice's joined the Bureau of Land Management to protect the Robledo Mountains Wilderness Study Area in US district court in New Mexico in March 2003.

Read the district court's March 2003 opinion dismissing the off-road vehicle groups' claims.

When the off-roaders appealed, the George W. Bush Justice Department argued in an October 2003 appeals court brief that mere "use" by vehicles can't construct a highway under RS 2477. Read excerpts of Justice Department's brief, which echo arguments the Justice Department made in 2002 in a Utah case.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals on April 7, 2004, ruled for conservation groups and BLM that the Robledo Mountains would remain protected from damaging off-road vehicle use. Read the decision. Conservation groups hailed the decision.

After the Appeals Court's decision barring off-road groups from pushing the bogus road claims, the groups pushed Doņa Ana County Commissioners to take up the suit for them. The off-roaders even agreed to pay the costs of the suit if the county would push the claims that would essentially gut the Robledo Mountains Wilderness Study Area. The Commissioners initially agreed to the scheme (read a December 13, 2004, article from the Las Cruces Sun-news). But cooler heads prevailed later when the Commissioners concluded that having a wilderness area near town would be a good thing, and that doing the bidding of "special interest" off-roaders didn't make sense. Read the December 15, 2004, article. The story was also reported in January 13, 2005 Los Cruces Sun Times article.

Catron County Pushes Road No One Wants

Learn more about how Catron County, NM is trying to reopen an old, washed out road to a subdivision--where no one wants the road open--using RS 2477.

Updating the Lincoln National Forest Travel Management Plan

Workshops to benefit the public's understanding about the Lincoln National Forest 's Travel Management Plan and that could help protect the Lincoln have one citizen in arms about private access to public lands. Read a related May 1, 2007 article from the Ruidoso News.

Lincoln National Forest Threatened by County

Otero County Commissioner Clarissa McGinn includes goat trails, butterfly routes and meteor pathways in her list of roads the Commission plans to proactively keep open regardless of any Forest Service determination that they may no longer be legally accessible to the public. Read a related article in the September 13, 2007 Alamogordo Daily News and Commission Chairman's September 15, 2007 response.

NEWS! Otero County Commissioners' meeting focuses on wildlife and the RS 2477 claims it plans to stake. Read a related article from the Alamogordo Daily News. See the County's Resolution and supporting documents (see page 411) from its September 20, 2007 meeting. Read a draft R.S. 2477 resolution.

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