Sublette County asserts road right
Willow Creek Road
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
February 11, 2007
Sublette County Commissioners sent a letter to the Bureau of Land Management this week declaring that the Willow Creek Road is an R.S. 2477 road, not under the jurisdiction of the BLM.
The action came after the Bureau of Land Management authorized a right-of-way across two miles of federal land for the county. The commission rejected the right-of-way grant, instead asserting its own jurisdiction of the roadway pursuant to an ancient federal law.
R.S. 2477, adopted by Congress in 1866, granted rights-of-way for the construction of highways across public lands not reserved for public uses. This statute was repealed with the 1976 enactment of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, but this repeal did not terminate rights-of-way already in existence.
The BLM offer included a series of at least 15 terms and conditions, including seasonal restrictions on activities and surface use to protect a variety of wildlife resources.
The commissionís letter to the BLM asserts that the portion of the road at issue became a duly established county road in 1954 with unrestricted use to the public.