Whose Owns These Rights Of Way?

Environmentalists worry that some states -- like Utah -- will claim thousands of 'roads' through sensitive Federal lands.
July 10, 2003, 4am PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"Under an obscure federal policy enacted in 1866, called Revised Statute 2477, this passage and thousands of other dirt and rock paths traversing federal lands throughout the West can be claimed by counties and states -- and thus kept open -- if the byways meet certain roadlike criteria... Many of the paths bear little similarity to a conventional road, though. Outside the tourist center of Moab, for instance, black tire marks from four-wheel drive vehicles extend up a series of rock ledges along a canyon wall above the Colorado River. Splashes of white paint can be seen at intervals to denote the Moab Rim Trail across federal land, which local Grand County officials claim as their road." [Editor's note: Access to WSJ articles requires a subscription.]

Thanks to Laura Kranz

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Published on Wednesday, July 9, 2003 in Wall St. Journal
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