The RS2477 Threat

Lands at Risk

Threats to
Private Property



Act Now!






What’s the solution to the problem of ‘Highway Robbery?’

  • Any solution should provide heightened protection for our special places - National Parks, National Monuments, National Wildlife Refuges, and wilderness lands.

  • Any solution should ensure that only true ‘highways’ that were truly ‘constructed’ be recognized as valid rights-of-way under RS 2477.

  • And any solution should give the public an opportunity to express their views on the impact of granting claims that may cross important watersheds, wildlife habitat, or archeological sites.

One Federal Court Takes a Balanced Approach
A federal court in Utah upheld one set of reasonable standards proposed by the Department of the Interior under Secretary Bruce Babbitt. Read the District Court’s opinion from 2001. Read excerpts from the brief filed by the George W. Bush administration arguing for some reasonable standards by which right-or-way claims should be judged.  Utah Counties have appealed the decision, but the Tenth Circuit sent the case back as not yet ready for appeal on June 27, 2003. Read the Tenth Circuit Court's ruling.

Read the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance's July 1, 2003, press release on the 10th Circuit case, and a Deseret News article from July 2, 2002, on the decision.

A Balanced Proposal from Congress

With your support, Rep Mark Udall may offer a 2007 Amendment to the Budget that will stop the funding of the R.S. 2477 land grab.  Read more!

On April 3, 2003, Rep. Udall proposed a solution that has balanced reasonable standards, provides a heightened standard for those seeking to validate claims in wildlands and protected areas like National Parks, and would require proponents to assert all claims within four years, thereby putting an end to interminable attempts to undercut public lands protection. It provides balanced definitions of "construction" and "highway," and provides for public comment on proposed agency decisions on individual routes.

Learn more about Udall's proposal.

Read Rep. Mark Udall's bill H.R. 1639, and his statement upon introducing the bill.

Read Rep. Mark Udall's commentary in the Salt Lake Tribune on why his bill is necessary.

Read a July 28, 2003, editorial from the Rocky Mountain News endorsing Udall's bill.

Mark Udall's bill has picked up the endorsement of Costilla County, Colorado. Read the County's August 15, 2003, letter. The Chair of the Board of Supervisors of Pima County, Arizona has also endorsed Udall's bill.

Conservation groups Colorado Wildlife Federation and National Wildlife Federation announced their support for the Udall bill in an October 15 letter.

Read a November 12, 2003, op-ed from Tucson Congressman Raul Grijalva endorsing the Udall bill.

Read an Earth Day 2004 essay by Rep. Udall that discusses RS 2477 and energy policy.

Read a January 23, 2005, editorial from the Grand Junction (Colo.) Sentinel supporting Rep. Udall's bill.

Another Solution - The ‘Title V’ Process                                              Rather than pushing to use an arcane, archaic repealed law to obtain rights-of-way for vehicle use, counties and states have another way that ensures public involvement, oversight by the land management agency, and a review of potential environmental impacts. Counties and others may request what’s known as a “Title V” permit for a right-of-way. The process is named after Title V of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), the law that repealed R.S. 2477. See BLM’s 2005 regulations concerning Title V permits.

While some argue that counties can gain more control over a right-of-way using R.S. 2477, thousands of Title V permits for highways have been approved with little fanfare over the last 25 years. And one of the most outspoken R.S. 2477 proponents - Garfield County, Utah -quietly submitted one application for a Title V permit in December 2004, stating in its application that “Recent conflicts regarding long standing County rights of way will be eliminated with the issuance of a [Title V] right of way to the County.

The Wrong Solution
On January 5, 2007 Congressman Steve Pearce of New Mexico  re-introduced  legislation that would virtually hand over control of parks and wildernesses to states and counties. He proposed a similar bill in 2006. Read accounts in the Los Angeles Times, the Salt Lake Tribune, and the Santa Fe New Mexican related to the 2006 bill.



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