The Latest: Utah loses Salt Creek road suit

 

Backstory
Revised Statute 2477, passed in 1866, allowed settlers to build highways across public land. Western counties later exploited it to reopen and maintain abandoned routes, even in national parks and wilderness study areas ("The road to nowhere," HCN, 12/20/04). In 2004, Utah and San Juan County filed an R.S. 2477 suit to reopen the Salt Creek route in Canyonlands National Park to vehicles. Seven years later, a district court denied the claim. The state and county appealed. They spent more than $1 million fighting the case.

Followup
On April 25, Utah lost this major road-war skirmish when a federal appeals court upheld the denial. Legal experts say the decision raises the bar for R.S. 2477 claims: Use of Salt Creek by cattle ranchers, prospectors and tourists was not enough to establish the "continuous use" required for a public highway. However, the Utah attorney general's office intends to keep battling for local control over 14,000 other roads on public lands across 22 counties.

High Country News Classifieds
  • RANCH GENERAL MANAGER
    Ranch General Manager for a large family-owned Ranch on the island of Molokai, Hawaii. Diversified operations include: an agro-tourism educational retreat center, renewable energy and...
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND PROJECT COORDINATOR CONTRACTOR
    POSITION SUMMARY: The Communications and Project Coordinator will support the Executive Director (ED) in campaign and administrative related tasks. The Coordinator is responsible for research...
  • HOMESICK: WHY HOUSING IS UNAFFORDABLE AND HOW WE CAN CHANGE IT
    A timely, damning, and ultimately hopeful investigation of housing in the United States. Essential reading in the West.
  • OREGON AGRICULTURAL LAND EASEMENT (ALE) PROGRAM COORDINATOR
    Status: Full time Reports to: Conservation Program Manager Salary Range: $60,000-65,000 Duration: Position is funded for 12 months, with the expectation of annual renewal Benefits:...
  • VICE PRESIDENT OF CONSERVATION
    The Vice President of Conservation will arrive at a time of remarkable growth and opportunity within the organization. Guided by the bold and ambitious goals...
  • WINTER WILDLANDS ALLIANCE IS HIRING!
    Help us inspire and empower people to protect America's wild snowscapes! We are a small, mighty and growing team dedicated to our work and looking...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR- ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION COMMITTEE OF WEST MARIN
    The EAC's Executive Director provides overall leadership for the operation of the organization. The Executive Director is responsible for implementing programs and policies set by...
  • UTE LEGENDS
    These carefully researched stories reflect a deep and abiding understanding of Ute culture and history. These authintic, colorful legends also illustrate the Ute's close connections...
  • FUNDRAISING ASSOCIATE - HIGH COUNTRY NEWS
    High Country News seeks an organized and collaborative Fundraising Associate to drive donor discovery and the cultivation and acquisition of mid-level and recurring gifts. This...
  • MONTANA CONSERVATION ASSOCIATE
    GYC is hiring! Please see our careers page for more details greateryellowstone.org/careers
  • WYOMING AND NORTHERN UTAH DIRECTOR
    Western Watersheds Project seeks a Director to continue and expand WWP's campaign to protect and restore public lands and wildlife in Wyoming and northern Utah,...
  • 12 ACRES IN EAGLE, COLORADO!
    Tranquility & land are becoming more and more rare. This land is a haven for peace, where nature beckons & flourishes. Enjoy the mountain views...
  • SURGICAL SHARPENING SERVICE
    is a Denver-based mail order surgical instrument sharpening service established in 2009. Specialties include surgical scissors, dental elevators, trocar sets, and gynecological biopsy forceps.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    California Coalition for Rural Housing (CCRH) seeks a strategic and visionary Executive Director: View all job details here- https://bit.ly/CCRHED
  • MONTANA BLUES
    Thrilling new crime novel by ex-HCN editor Ray Ring : A rural White horsewoman and an urban Black man battle White supremacists in a tough...
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Field seminars for adults in natural and human history of the northern Colorado Plateau, with lodge and base camp options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, everything furnished. Two bedroom, one bath, large enclosed yards. Dog-friendly. Contact Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Native plant seeds for the Western US. Trees, shrubs, grasses, wildflowers and regional mixes. Call or email for free price list. 719-942-3935. [email protected] or visit...