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Public Lands, Private Control

 
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OldBear
Site Admin


Joined: 30 May 2004
Posts: 61
Location: Brigham City

PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 10:05 pm    Post subject: Public Lands, Private Control Reply with quote

Ongoing for some years now has been an attempt by private landowners across the U.S. to control access to public lands. Box Elder County is no exception. The subject here was supposedly resolved to the satisfaction of all parties some years ago but now is raising it's ugly head once again. Why? Greed and avarice? You tell me.
BEWF membership at the February meeting voted to weigh in on the subject. We will contact counsel and see what options are open. After all, someone has to speak for the citizen.
If you have historical documents or other pertinent info, come forth.
More on this subject as developments take place. Stay tuned.
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chuckshoun
Wilderness Guide


Joined: 23 May 2004
Posts: 53
Location: Utah

PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2005 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Disregarding the new maps the State of Utah has published (last year), the only bruhah I've seen is the Devils Gate road access. I used that in a treck with my old Landrover many years ago, going up the Rocky Dugway, swinging toward Liberty (locking all gates behind me, and then wodn the Davils Gate road to the Willard Peak road. Are you referring to any specific road, or roads in general?
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OldBear
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Joined: 30 May 2004
Posts: 61
Location: Brigham City

PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2005 6:51 pm    Post subject: County Commission Hearing Reply with quote

The mayor and city atty from Brigham, the mayors of Perry, Mantua and other cities gave their undivided support in *not* allowing the county to vacate any public access to public lands. In Box Elder County there are massive sections of public lands, county-state-federal. These entities all spoke to the subject of private vs. public access to public lands, and the massive financial value attached to these lands by citizens and visitors alike. The mayors presented their concerns in an impressive manner. Mayor Christensen gave a particularly impressive presentation.
BEWF members, although agreeing fully with the cities, have a slightly different, perhaps even more suspicious, take on why the landowners are trying to close off public access to the public lands, it goes something like this:
Hunting used to be a widely supported sport in the game management plan. Recent declines in the number of hunters has been caused by several factors; everything from kids not being given the same outdoor sports training we used to have, to the closure of hunting areas because of declining access, to the bruhaha of anti-gun elements. The reduction of game animals because of drought and other natural causes has also reduced the areas where successful hunting can be had by the average person. Game is not as plentiful as it used to be for many reasons. When the supply is reduced in anything, the demand seems to intensify and the price seems to escalate.
Enter the "P.H.U.", or "Private Hunting Unit".
If the landowners can close off public access to the public grounds, our members believe, they can then market the exclusive hunting priveleges to high-priced "clients" from (predominantly) California and Texas. We have a PHU up the canyon a few miles, been there for many years, that only had to cut off one section of public land to create a deer-season PHU that allowed the landowner to have twenty-four clients (twelve from California on the first week, twelve from Texas on the second week) who were priveleged to harvest prime bucks from landlocked public ground. The individual "fee", in 1972 dollars, was $2,500.00 each hunter, with a serious "gratuity" expected and gladly paid. This created a generous non taxable income for the landowner, at taxpayer's expense on both ends.
Jump forward now to the year 2005. Calculate the inflation factor, add a twenty percent increase due to hunting pressure, and figure out what exclusive access to nine sections of public land (instead of one) would bring to the landowners in Box Elder County (at public expense on both ends) for not only deer, but elk and goat. Keep in mind that deer hunts are cheap on the private market compared to elk and goat. Do the math.
The members of BEWF are keeping track of the events and preparing for the inevitable court test.
If you are a concerned ourdoors type, hunter, photographer, hiker, ATV'er, or just like to get out in the wilderness on a Sunday afternoon, then we invite you to join with us.
If you don't join with us, and the roads are eventually closed, then don't come around whining. Only people who actually fought the closures, instead of just whining about them, will have the right to bitch if the gates eventually go up and the public ground is totally owned for all practical purposes by the private landowners.
And some of them are not even Utah residents.
Keep tuned for more developments. Attend the meetings to voice your opinion.
Or do it here.
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OldBear
Site Admin


Joined: 30 May 2004
Posts: 61
Location: Brigham City

PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2005 7:00 pm    Post subject: All roads are in jeopardy, if landowners have their way Reply with quote

chuckshoun wrote:
Are you referring to any specific road, or roads in general?

Roads in general. The roads the landowners are trying to control actually are mapped in maps going back to the mid 1800's. Same thing with property deeds.
The problem with maps is they do not (apparently) necessarily define a "public road". Public access is defined (apparently, by recent court case law) by the ability of the public to use the roads at will, for a period (*any* period) of ten years or more. That apparently means that if during the years of 1900 thru 1910 the public had access, then that legal access is still alive today. This is a much-abbreviated version, but basically explains case law regarding public access. There is also the matter of what "class" the road is, and that determines what amount of public grooming the road rates, all other things being equal.
BEWF is gathering statements from oldtime residents, prior county and state road officials and employees, prior law enforcement officials, prior wildlife management officials, and others regarding their use of these roads into public lands and the public access during their lifetimes.
We need everyone's assistance on this project.
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