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Old 07-22-2008, 11:30 AM   #46
Retro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwrover
So living in Larimer county on some acreage; we received a little booklet called the "code of the west". It states that based on some old Colorado laws, it is not my responsibility to fence my cattle in, but for you to fence them out.
If a "Public Right of Way" exists, the land owner can not impede allowable traffic from using it.
Now, that doesn't mean that all roads that are signed "no trespassing" are private or public. Some have no status as they have been roads in use for more than 10 years uninterrupted, and were originally access easements. Once the people let UPS, Fed-Ex, Friend Betty and Bobby come down the road at least once a year for 10 years the rules of Imminent Domain take over and "any reasonable person" can assume that the road is open to public thoroughfare!

Doesn't mean you won't get shot, just means your relatives will be able to file and win a lawsuit!
That sort of law should be rewritten.

We had a very similar law in VA. A lawyer who also owned a farm (for tax purposes) figured out that he could build a fence and make his neighbors pay their share of the fence costs using a colonial era law that was still on the books.

As it turns out, he could. His neighbors attempted to resist, but as a lawyer, he knew his case was on solid ground since in colonial days a fence was seen as a benefit to both parties.

It turned even uglier when one of his neighbors came over to complain about a steer that was always escaping, and had escaped again. The lawyer shot the neighbor claiming that the neighbor came over to attack him. The shooting was fatal.

States and localities really need to examine the laws on public/private roads and how they are to enforced. I've found myself pulling into someone's yard on more than one occasion when I thought I was on a public street. Luckily it's been nothing worse than some tense moments with very large dogs with very large teeth.
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Old 07-22-2008, 01:31 PM   #47
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This is a very interesting thread.

I found the site below which seems to address some of the "Highway or County Road on my map" type cases.

I'd be curious to hear how RS 2477 would or wouldn't apply to the topic at hand.

http://www.rs2477roads.com/

http://www.rs2477roads.com/2learnhow.htm
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Old 07-22-2008, 02:13 PM   #48
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A few thoughts

My POV...

I grew up on a 325 acre farm in Maryland. Our driveway, which was 1/4 mile long, was indeed the public road about 25 years prior to my dad buying the place. It was clearly a private drive as it had a mailbox, a pair of stone pillars, and the name of our farm on it at the end of the drive. It also had a big sign "Private Drive". Sure enough, maybe 2-3 times per year someone would come driving down our driveway with the "1927 Shell Oil Roadmap" thinking we were still the public road. Despite the fact that the real public road was paved, well marked, and went right past the end of our driveway. My dad would have to come out to "convince" these obstinate people that our driveway, clearly marked, was not the road. But, some people just need more convincing. The world is full of people who think it indeed does belong to them and have no problem trespassing on our property despite indicatations that the other 99.9% of the population would observe.

Present day. My wife and I own land and a cabin near Westcliffe, CO. It is on a private road that is about 1/2 mile long and has 4 properties on it, one of which is ours. Our private road is connected to a Custer County road which is 4 miles long, hard packed dirt, and connects to the main paved highway near Westcliffe. It even has cluster mailboxes on it every so often and is clearly marked as a county road. Anyone is free to drive/ride on it.

Just off of the main highway, and at the end of the county road is a sign saying "No Forest Service Access From This Road". It is true. You cannot get to any public land via the county road as it's all private holdings prior to getting to the Rainbow Trail (which runs very close to our place). However, this doesn't stop a certain amount of folks from driving their cars, quads (illegal on county roads), motorcycles, etc.. down that county road all the time trying to gain access to the public land or forest. People continue to come down our private road despite a sign that says "Private road, not county maintained, No Access to Public Land". Mostly people on quads, loud dirt bikes, and pickup trucks.

The next county road to the north, and to the south of us, do have access to the Rainbow trail and public land and are marked to tell people that. I guess reading comprehension is hard for some. Any map: county, USGS, etc.. shows the county road as a dead end.

I find both viewpoints here pretty interesting. I tend to explore on foot, on my bikes, or in my pickup truck a lot to find public land, etc.. However, I do not cross onto private roads, private land, and always err on the side of caution. I still on occasion find myself at the end of a road and find a private residence and a road going nowhere. It does happen.

But many times you could at least consider that a well made sign saying this is private will indeed save you time, allow me the privacy I desire, and that there are a million other places to ride/hike/etc.. other than my private land.

I don't see "how" I would prove to Esteban or others that our road is private. Should I just keep a copy of my deed at the end of my driveway in a plastic box so that I can "prove" that you are indeed on my property?

As for shooting people, get real. There may be some Unabomber out there somewhere who has a problem with society, but every single person I know in my neighborhood just wants a place to be left alone to do their own thing. We're not gonna shoot anyone unless you come crawling in the house in the middle of the night.

My .02.

Tom
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Old 07-22-2008, 02:44 PM   #49
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Old 07-22-2008, 03:26 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Infracaninophile
But many times you could at least consider that a well made sign saying this is private will indeed save you time, allow me the privacy I desire, and that there are a million other places to ride/hike/etc.. other than my private land.

I don't see "how" I would prove to Esteban or others that our road is private. Should I just keep a copy of my deed at the end of my driveway in a plastic box so that I can "prove" that you are indeed on my property?
Well you have the over-zealous landowners who put up well-made signs and gates on legal public roads to thank. Now it doesn't matter how well-made the sign is, until I do some research on my own and establish that it really is private, I simply don't believe it.

Of course, until I satisfy myself that it is indeed public, I don't go down it, tresspass, etc. I also don't expect the landowner to prove it to me - in fact I probably wouldn't believe anything they told me anyway. As I noted from Cowboy's advice earlier in the thread, there are a few relatively reliable sources to determine road status, and that's who I'll believe. And when in doubt, I'll assume it's private and not tresspass.

In your case, if the NFS put up a sign saying no NF access, I'm guessing they'll tell me right off the bat that it's private.
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Old 07-22-2008, 03:40 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyman
Well you have the over-zealous landowners who put up well-made signs and gates on legal public roads to thank. Now it doesn't matter how well-made the sign is, until I do some research on my own and establish that it really is private, I simply don't believe it.

Of course, until I satisfy myself that it is indeed public, I don't go down it, tresspass, etc. I also don't expect the landowner to prove it to me - in fact I probably wouldn't believe anything they told me anyway. As I noted from Cowboy's advice earlier in the thread, there are a few relatively reliable sources to determine road status, and that's who I'll believe. And when in doubt, I'll assume it's private and not tresspass.

In your case, if the NFS put up a sign saying no NF access, I'm guessing they'll tell me right off the bat that it's private.
Same here really, i just assume its actually private if theres a sign. I'd rather be wrong and miss a trail than wrong and end up swiss cheesed by someones rooftop mounted 50 caliber
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:15 PM   #52
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On the subject of roads shown on maps . . . .

I grew up on a ranch, where our driveway turned off from a state highway. There is no public land anywhere in the vicinity. Are driveways obviously driveways? Apparently not. Every map I've ever seen of the area around our ranch shows a road in the approximate location of our driveway, continuing on past the house about 1/2 a mile, then turning 90 degrees and continuing on to a dead end in another 1/2 mile. My grandfather homesteaded that land, and no such road has ever existed. Our driveway comes to the house, passes on around to the shop behind, then loops back to same driveway you came in on. How that non-existent road got on the maps, I don't know. Even more puzzling is why it continues to be shown on new maps.

I can tell you this, though: during pheasant hunting season, we get four or five trucks full of hunters every Saturday and Sunday, driving up our driveway (despite the sign telling them it is private) and stopping to get out and open the gate to go back around by our shop, trying to get to that non-existent road shown on their map. Some of them are respectful when we tell them that the road on their map doesn't exist. We generally extend the same respect tp them, and invite them to hunt on our nearby cornfield, where we don't have to worry about them shooting toward the house and livestock. (they are usually disappointed, since they WANT to hunt the trees around our house and corrals) Some of the hunters are flat belligerent, and seem to think that have some right to drive on the non-existent road because it's shown on the map. We have a simple way of dealing with the belligerent ones. We call the local game warden. It is against the law to trespass while hunting in Wyoming, and the warden will confiscate your license on the spot if they catch you trespassing. The game warden lives five miles away, and in the time it takes for the dipshits to drive around our back pasture and figure out we weren't lying to them about the non-existent road, the game warden arrives and confiscates their hunting licenses.

Sadly, we've never once received an apology from the ones who insist on trespassing, even after they figure out we weren't lying to them.

Interestingly, a guy once showed up from an oil company, and he was looking for that same road. Instead of hunting, he was looking for a survey monument that his map told him he could find along that road. We were not aware of any survey monument, but told him he was welcome to go look. I went with him, to show him where the gates were, so he could get around between pastures. We did find the survey monument. I wonder whether the surveyors who placed that monument are responsible for showing that road on a contemporary map, in order to help people figure out how to get to the monument. About the only way you could approach that monument without going up a steep slope would be to drive along the approximate route of the non-existent road shown on all those maps.

Last month, when I was riding around the Red Desert on the ADV Relay, GrayWolf11, SpringOly and I got into an area where my maps and their GPS units all showed numerous BLM roads. The maps and GPS units even identified the roads by their BLM road numbers. There were lots of those roads that did not exist on the ground. The GPS would tell you to turn right onto a BLM road, and to your right you would see nothing but sage brush, and no indication that there had ever been a road in that spot.

Don't believe everything you see on a map, and especially don't get yourself shot, insisting the map is gospel.

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Old 07-22-2008, 04:50 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeyman
Well you have the over-zealous landowners who put up well-made signs and gates on legal public roads to thank. Now it doesn't matter how well-made the sign is, until I do some research on my own and establish that it really is private, I simply don't believe it.

Of course, until I satisfy myself that it is indeed public, I don't go down it, tresspass, etc. I also don't expect the landowner to prove it to me - in fact I probably wouldn't believe anything they told me anyway. As I noted from Cowboy's advice earlier in the thread, there are a few relatively reliable sources to determine road status, and that's who I'll believe. And when in doubt, I'll assume it's private and not tresspass.

In your case, if the NFS put up a sign saying no NF access, I'm guessing they'll tell me right off the bat that it's private.
Monkeyman:

In our case, I believe it is Custer County who has the signs on many of the roads heading towards the west that there is no NFS access. These signs are typically on county roads and LOOK like Custer County signs. But they could be NFS. So, the county road IS public, someone is just informing people that they don't need to make the 4+ mile 1-way (it's a dead end road) trek up there only to find it doesn't go to the Rainbow trail. In the case of our private road, I am not sure who made the sign, but it's likely the rich folks at the end of the road who have 800 acres as the sign is nicely done. The road is not gated as it is too much a pain in the butt to stop and open and close it. We just assume that there will be a few folks each day driving/riding it looking for access.

If someone knows that someone has signed a property illegally then I'd take action by contacting the county, NGS, BLM, etc.. and see what their policy is.

Thanks for the reply.

Tom
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:02 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Infracaninophile
My POV...

I do not cross onto private roads, private land, and always err on the side of caution.

I don't see "how" I would prove to Esteban or others that our road is private. My .02.

Tom
Tom,

It would be tough to prove ownership, boundaries and access issues and this is what empowers those that make bogus signs and claims and they know it. The most disputed roads/accesses are the ones that were once public easements accessing public lands which have been closed by the land owners.

As for the confrontation issue - You have always been more coy than I have been, choosing avoidance rather than the risk of confrontation. Matter of fact this has always been a big difference in our personalities. I am not saying which method is correct but a difference between us none the less.

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Old 07-22-2008, 06:11 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowboy
On the subject of roads shown on maps . . . .

snip

Don't believe everything you see on a map, and especially don't get yourself shot, insisting the map is gospel.


Cowboy,

One big difference is the amount of public land in Colorado. What I am saying here applies to instances within the national forest where it is a well known fact that the lands and roads belong to the citizens of the USA. Just because someone built a house on a private inholding surrounded by public lands and then puts up "private road" sign does not make me turn around and go home. Some of the roads are actually historic public accesses that have been illegally closed and the feds do not challenge since it is one less thing they have to worry about with the closure.

Steve

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Old 07-22-2008, 06:49 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esteban
Cowboy,

. . . What I am saying here applies to instances within the national forest where it is a well known fact that the lands and roads belong to the citizens of the USA. Just because someone built a house on a private inholding surrounded public lands and then puts up "private road" sign does not make me turn around and go home. Some of the roads are actually historic public accesses that have been illegally closed and the feds do not challenge since it is one less thing they have to worry about with the closure.

Steve
Understood, and I agree.

ColoradoJay's earier post regarding R.S. 2477 and its application to this situation points out a reason why the faderal agencies seem to be disinterested in defending the public access to the roads across their federal lands.

R.S. 2477 was a federal law that allowed local and state governments to freely construct roads acorss federal lands, from about 1866 to 1976. The loacl and state agencies needed no authorization or special easements to construct roads across federal land, so often, there were no easements or rights of way recorded. Of course, lots of the roads across federal lands were not constructed by the governments, but rather by forest or BLM land users: hunters, miners, and recreationists.

Even though RS 2477 has been repealed, the rights of way created under it are still valid. the question is, which roads, trails and highways on the public land are valid existing rights of way under RS2477? The answer, at least in the tenth circuit (Wy, CO, UT, OK, NM) depends on state law regarding how a "highway" can be established. In Wyoming the question is easy. Our state law doesn't recognize as a public road any right of way that was not determined by the appropriate state or county agency, and recorded. RS 2477 claims are simply dead in Wyoming. Not so in Colorado, where state law recognizes the creation of a highway by no more than the regular passage of an oxcart.

I don't know, though, how courts in Colorado would react to private citizens bringing a suit to enjoin the closure of a road because it is a public highway pursuant to RS 2477. Presumably the courts would be willing to accept the individual's interest in the use of a public highway, and be willing to at least pursue the question whether the road in question is a valid right of way under RS 2477.

The Federal Agencies don't bother trying to keep roads open because, starting with FLPMA in 1976, their whole focus shifted to trying to close more roads across public land, not keeping them open.
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:30 PM   #57
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The irony here is, the public lands that we assume should be open are often closed. So even if you find "public" land....
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:00 PM   #58
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How did a Cowboy get so smart ? What kind of Cowboy are you ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowboy
Understood, and I agree.

ColoradoJay's earier post regarding R.S. 2477 and its application to this situation points out a reason why the faderal agencies seem to be disinterested in defending the public access to the roads across their federal lands.

R.S. 2477 was a federal law that allowed local and state governments to freely construct roads acorss federal lands, from about 1866 to 1976. The loacl and state agencies needed no authorization or special easements to construct roads across federal land, so often, there were no easements or rights of way recorded. Of course, lots of the roads across federal lands were not constructed by the governments, but rather by forest or BLM land users: hunters, miners, and recreationists.

Even though RS 2477 has been repealed, the rights of way created under it are still valid. the question is, which roads, trails and highways on the public land are valid existing rights of way under RS2477? The answer, at least in the tenth circuit (Wy, CO, UT, OK, NM) depends on state law regarding how a "highway" can be established. In Wyoming the question is easy. Our state law doesn't recognize as a public road any right of way that was not determined by the appropriate state or county agency, and recorded. RS 2477 claims are simply dead in Wyoming. Not so in Colorado, where state law recognizes the creation of a highway by no more than the regular passage of an oxcart.

I don't know, though, how courts in Colorado would react to private citizens bringing a suit to enjoin the closure of a road because it is a public highway pursuant to RS 2477. Presumably the courts would be willing to accept the individual's interest in the use of a public highway, and be willing to at least pursue the question whether the road in question is a valid right of way under RS 2477.

The Federal Agencies don't bother trying to keep roads open because, starting with FLPMA in 1976, their whole focus shifted to trying to close more roads across public land, not keeping them open.
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:17 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esteban
Correct - Crash knows how I think.

Driveways are obviously not public.
Roads in the forest leading to driveways are not so obvious.
Does the land owner own on both sides of the road ?

Cowboy,
Do as you choose, but I choose not to easily believe that Forest Roads, (through roads) with a "map history" are private. It is especially hard to believe when these roads lead to known public lands.
I don't care what some land owner flippantly claims - prove it.

Steve
Ballard Road is one - the land is private on either side of the entrance to the road. The public/forest marking for the road is/has been taken down on several occasions by someone, and there are multiple signs that say Private Property as you go to turn on to Ballard Road with nothing saying that the road itself is not private. I only know because I have driven it over the years and watched the Private Property/No Tresspassing signs appear.

The signage in general should be more specific and not geared to be what seems to be confrontational... Such as "Land on either side is private..." or something. Instead of trying to keep everyone off of the road, and out of the public land that is behind their 1-2 acres.

Someone else mentioned the Old Flowers Road, that is a bit confusing as I think the part after the private lands is now marked as no motorcycles, not sure if that includes plated bikes or what...

Also frustrated at seeing what looks like a decent route on the gazeteer, riding there and ... seeing what looks like a driveway ... with a road sign? Perhaps I need a better route finding way.

-out
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:22 AM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esteban
How did a Cowboy get so smart ? What kind of Cowboy are you ?
For those who know me, the whole "cowboy" username is kind of a joke. I may have grown up on a ranch, and owned horses all my life, but I mostly reject the whole cowboy look and lifestyle. I'm interested in "western" legal issues, but I'm more interested in promoting the new west economy, built on recreation and clean(ish) industries.

Dad wanted me to be anything BUT a cowboy. Work hard and stay in school, he said . . .

Ask Chris Katsaros about his cousin Ted sometime. (try to get him to join us for a ride, while you're at it. That big GS needs to see some dirt!)
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