Podcast Episodes on Public-Private Property Rights at Intersecting Corners

glassy

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
40
For those interested, here is the already IN PLACE regulation referenced by the attorneys in the podcast that only needs to be acted upon to solve a huge amount of these issues. See page 13

Thanks for posting. The section you references on pg. 13 seems specific to national forests (which seems odd as it's a BLM document). Did you happen to notice anything similar that is specific to BLM? I haven't noticed nearly as many places where corner crossing is an issue in national forests; whereas checkerboard BLM tracts are ubiquitous.
 

glassy

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
40
I like the Fly-In solution as a stop-gap way to access a particular section of public that is "land-locked" by private sections surrounding it.
Agree whole-heartedly with you for large land-locked parcels, but this isn't a particularly useful solution for checkerboard tracts where you can only access a single section at a time and would have to fly to another adjacent section to access it (unless you owned and could fly in your own helicopter, in which case you probably would just own your own mega-ranch to begin with).
 

Cornell Cowboy

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Messages
202
Location
Laramie, WY
I have no idea if you listened to the episode or not, but one of the attorneys actually suggested these easements as being put forth by the landowners themselves as an alternative to possible eminent domain of a few feet by BLM at these corners (which he presents an argument as being within the scope of BLM's mission). If BLM took a few feet (and paid the landowner for that) at each corner so that public could access the next section, there would be nothing to prevent them from taking a few more feet to allow for ATV or off-road vehicles. The attorney simply made the statement that a smart landowner might grant easements prior to any eminent domain to ensure that people could only walk over the corners if said landowner saw eminent domain as a realistic possibility.
I listened carefully to both podcasts. I also just sat through an 8-hr hearing on Thursday for a group of private individuals trying to get legal access to their family's ranch that they own and have been accessing for more than a century. In this hearing, a couple of wealthy landowners with high-priced attorneys basically try to stonewall and malign the family just to run up legal fees because they can (one of the wealthy landowners is a WY US congressperson). I just don't see that type of landowner granting a bunch of easements just in case of an eminent domain action -- these landowners will be fighting tooth and nail. I do think that if corner-crossing becomes legal, you will see a slew of land swaps to consolidate blocks of public.
 

Dirthog67

Active member
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
149
Congress people are elected. There are more of us than them. Let's make us a whole lot more inclusive and stop worrying about hyped up bs that doesn't even really matter.
 

glassy

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
40
I listened carefully to both podcasts. I also just sat through an 8-hr hearing on Thursday for a group of private individuals trying to get legal access to their family's ranch that they own and have been accessing for more than a century. In this hearing, a couple of wealthy landowners with high-priced attorneys basically try to stonewall and malign the family just to run up legal fees because they can (one of the wealthy landowners is a WY US congressperson). I just don't see that type of landowner granting a bunch of easements just in case of an eminent domain action -- these landowners will be fighting tooth and nail. I do think that if corner-crossing becomes legal, you will see a slew of land swaps to consolidate blocks of public.
Wow, Cornell Cowboy. It sounds like you're situated in a really unique position as someone who understands and can see both sides. You have an obvious grasp of the private landowner's viewpoint (and have even gone through it yourself). At the same time I assume you have an interest in the corner crossing issue (since you're here and listened to the podcasts). I'd be really curious to hear your perspective on where you think the best place to start on this issue is. What do you think is the best approach for upholding public land's rights on these parcels while at the same time respecting private land and the rights of the landowner?
 

Cornell Cowboy

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Messages
202
Location
Laramie, WY
Wow, Cornell Cowboy. It sounds like you're situated in a really unique position as someone who understands and can see both sides. You have an obvious grasp of the private landowner's viewpoint (and have even gone through it yourself). At the same time I assume you have an interest in the corner crossing issue (since you're here and listened to the podcasts). I'd be really curious to hear your perspective on where you think the best place to start on this issue is. What do you think is the best approach for upholding public land's rights on these parcels while at the same time respecting private land and the rights of the landowner?
First, I don't think anyone is served well by the ambiguity of the legality of corner crossing. I think the best place to start is to define clearly if corner crossing is legal. If if is, under what conditions (i.e. does there need to be a pin/monument, what about fences that exist, etc.). I hope that the Wyoming case discussed by the attorneys in the second podcast will be a step on the road to better defining this -- thus, my meager contribution to the cause.

Second, what seems to be missing from much of the discussion here is the degree to which recreation in general and hunting specifically has becoming a highly valued commodity in the past couple of decades. Thus, an outfitter can charge $9000 for an elk hunt not just because they have a lot of area to hunt but specifically because they can keep others from hunting it. I don't see them giving up on this easily. If corner crossing becomes legal, I think that you will see a spike in the number of land swaps to segregate public from private so that they can maintain their exclusivity -- in my view, the exclusivity is more important to them than the acreage.

If it ends up that corner crossing is deemed illegal, then I think you have to proceed along much the same lines as we do now: trying to secure access agreements, walk-in areas, etc. But I would also like to see an increased push for land swaps first and land sales after that. I see no value in a public parcel that can't be legally accessed and is only producing a value equal to the grazing fee. Why not let these truly landlocked parcels be bought and create a permanent trust with that money to purchase other parcels/access in the future. You could also grant the public the right to pursue legal access under the same statutes that a private citizen might (this would work for Wyoming but probably not any US gov't lands) -- it would be costly, but might be worth it in some cases (e.g. maybe a 1/4 mile easement would open up 3,000 acres of public access, like would be the case for Squaw Mountain west of Wheatland). But for this you would have to have a budget for it and an agency group prioritizing the use of the budget.
 

Dirthog67

Active member
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
149
It might be feasible to swap squares right next to each other as long as the squares are basically equal in terrain type, water access, etc but I am absolutely opposed to selling these greedy assholes public land. There is no guarantee that it will be replaced.

According to the lawyers on the podcast, the blm has the right to take land from the landowners to provide access.

Let's get to it.

Let us on our land.
 

Cornell Cowboy

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Messages
202
Location
Laramie, WY
It might be feasible to swap squares right next to each other as long as the squares are basically equal in terrain type, water access, etc but I am absolutely opposed to selling these greedy assholes public land. There is no guarantee that it will be replaced.

According to the lawyers on the podcast, the blm has the right to take land from the landowners to provide access.

Let's get to it.

Let us on our land.
While the landowner in the current Wyoming corner crossing case does not appear to be a winsome character, the vast majority of landowners that I know display far less greed than many on this site do (including you in this post). Most of the landowners I know DON'T lease to outfitters, could care less about hunting, and mostly want the public away because they trash their land. Referring to all folks that lease grazing land as "greedy assholes" says a lot more about you than them and certainly won't help advance the conversation much or win folks to your side.
 

antlerradar

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
Messages
2,663
Location
SE Montana
Wow, Cornell Cowboy. It sounds like you're situated in a really unique position as someone who understands and can see both sides. You have an obvious grasp of the private landowner's viewpoint (and have even gone through it yourself). At the same time I assume you have an interest in the corner crossing issue (since you're here and listened to the podcasts). I'd be really curious to hear your perspective on where you think the best place to start on this issue is. What do you think is the best approach for upholding public land's rights on these parcels while at the same time respecting private land and the rights of the landowner?
As a landowner I was thinking about how to reply to this question. Thanks to @Cornell Cowboy I will not have to. His answer is more eloquent than anything I could have done.
 

golfer

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 20, 2010
Messages
1,412
@Big Fin
I'd also be curious to hear from Tom and Nick about what constitutes a "legal boundary". Is there a case to be made for the fact that I can see a boundary in real-time on my phone, and my proximity to it, regardless of whether that boundary is marked on the landscape or not?

The thing with you seeing a so called boudnary on your phone with ownership names, is that the data input on these apps is not of survey grade and don't always align. These apps get their information from county GIS departments for example. Not every GIS department is using the same reference datum to input their data. It also becomes difficult to get a real accurate map because there are different projections used by the different GIS departments. Because of the earth's oblate shape, each projection is just a bit different than the next, getting all of them to jive is a big task. Also, just because your using your phone and can see the so called property line on the screen doesn't mean you are standing at the correct location. The GPS in your phone is no where near survey grade and the accuracy may be alot further off than you are seeing on your phone depending on the surroundings you are in at that time.
 
Last edited:

300stw

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 6, 2008
Messages
616
First, I don't think anyone is served well by the ambiguity of the legality of corner crossing. I think the best place to start is to define clearly if corner crossing is legal. If if is, under what conditions (i.e. does there need to be a pin/monument, what about fences that exist, etc.). I hope that the Wyoming case discussed by the attorneys in the second podcast will be a step on the road to better defining this -- thus, my meager contribution to the cause.

Second, what seems to be missing from much of the discussion here is the degree to which recreation in general and hunting specifically has becoming a highly valued commodity in the past couple of decades. Thus, an outfitter can charge $9000 for an elk hunt not just because they have a lot of area to hunt but specifically because they can keep others from hunting it. I don't see them giving up on this easily. If corner crossing becomes legal, I think that you will see a spike in the number of land swaps to segregate public from private so that they can maintain their exclusivity -- in my view, the exclusivity is more important to them than the acreage.

If it ends up that corner crossing is deemed illegal, then I think you have to proceed along much the same lines as we do now: trying to secure access agreements, walk-in areas, etc. But I would also like to see an increased push for land swaps first and land sales after that. I see no value in a public parcel that can't be legally accessed and is only producing a value equal to the grazing fee. Why not let these truly landlocked parcels be bought and create a permanent trust with that money to purchase other parcels/access in the future. You could also grant the public the right to pursue legal access under the same statutes that a private citizen might (this would work for Wyoming but probably not any US gov't lands) -- it would be costly, but might be worth it in some cases (e.g. maybe a 1/4 mile easement would open up 3,000 acres of public access, like would be the case for Squaw Mountain west of Wheatland). But for this you would have to have a budget for it and an agency group prioritizing the use of the budget.
i understand this sentiment and action, except for one thought, the durfees, which will always be a test case for others to be compared to in my mind,
the landowner surrounding would purchase it in a heartbeat, i imagine, what does the public loose there, how do you see the public getting same quality and quantity of land back into public accesible land.
ive heard the ,sell the landlocked stuff for years, use the money to do good things. when does the public get same acreage back, should public lands be reduced in total acreage?

thats the biggest issue I have in reducing public owned lands, accesible or not,,,,,no net loss of public owned land, and realistically, its time for public lands to start commanding same prices as private land for any type of leases, if we are going to use the response of income generation from the public lands,,,,
 

MNElkNut

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
1,270
Location
Minnesota
Don't forget, the landlocked land is not inaccessible...you can access it by helicopter. So there is value to the public, but it is diminished should corner crossing be deemed illegal. Then again, laws can be changed in the future. Sold land will not be repurchased by the public.
 

wllm

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
14,958
Location
Boston
I see no value in a public parcel that can't be legally accessed and is only producing a value equal to the grazing fee. Why not let these truly landlocked parcels be bought and create a permanent trust with that money to purchase other parcels/access in the future. You could also grant the public the right to pursue legal access under the same statutes that a private citizen might (this would work for Wyoming but probably not any US gov't lands) -- it would be costly, but might be worth it in some cases (e.g. maybe a 1/4 mile easement would open up 3,000 acres of public access, like would be the case for Squaw Mountain west of Wheatland). But for this you would have to have a budget for it and an agency group prioritizing the use of the budget.
I see you point but I think we should at least consider a longer timeframe. There is explosive growth in the west, that piece of public surrounded by a huge ranch might be accessible 20- 70 years from now when the ranch is chopped up into ranchettes and county rounds are built. Hell it might even be a bargaining chip in development negations.
 

Dirthog67

Active member
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
149
While the landowner in the current Wyoming corner crossing case does not appear to be a winsome character, the vast majority of landowners that I know display far less greed than many on this site do (including you in this post). Most of the landowners I know DON'T lease to outfitters, could care less about hunting, and mostly want the public away because they trash their land. Referring to all folks that lease grazing land as "greedy assholes" says a lot more about you than them and certainly won't help advance the conversation much or win folks to your side.
Did you listen to the podcast? The federal law says it is illegal to block access to public land.

Give access, or have the blm take it.

Wanting to step over about 1 square foot of a corner of a million some acres of land to access public land that I have a legal right to access is not selfish.

As for "trashing the land", people trash all sorts of things. Public land. Private land.

There are a lot of benefits to owning land next to public land, one being easy access.

There are also some challenges. Pros and cons.

I live next to a city park. Its pretty nice to walk my dog in a park right outside my door but sometimes people do some pretty dumb shit there. Once, early pandemic a wagon train of shopping carts circled the wagons there. It took a week for the homeless outreach people to move them along.

Pros and cons. You could lose those cons by buying land next to a single landowner, but then you wouldn't get access unless they granted it on their terms. Pros and cons.
 

Cornell Cowboy

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Messages
202
Location
Laramie, WY
I see you point but I think we should at least consider a longer timeframe. There is explosive growth in the west, that piece of public surrounded by a huge ranch might be accessible 20- 70 years from now when the ranch is chopped up into ranchettes and county rounds are built. Hell it might even be a bargaining chip in development negations.
I see your point and the variable of time is often left out of so many discussions and arguments. I guess it depends on what the purpose of the public land is. In Wyoming its (State land) primary function is defined as revenue generation to fund education, which is currently running a $100M+ deficit. It's tough for me to prioritize possible hunting access in another century (I'm not even sure we'll be allowed to hunt in the next century) for a huge bump in revenue today and in perpetuity. (Also, Wyoming has not seen the explosive growth you refer to and has been seen in CO, ID, Utah, etc.). In fact, since 2010 11,800 more people have left the state than moved to the state.
 

Dirthog67

Active member
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
149
Normally, when you have a neighbor you want to keep things friendly. You wouldn't ask your neighbor if you could cross his land if you weren't willing to let him cross yours sort of thing.

He helps you, you help him.

With landowners having the public as a neighbor, they are getting all the help but not returning the favor. They get to do whatever they want on the public land, but they refuse to even all the public to hover over a tiny square foot to cross at the corner.

Its wrong!
 

wllm

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
14,958
Location
Boston
I see your point and the variable of time is often left out of so many discussions and arguments. I guess it depends on what the purpose of the public land is. In Wyoming its (State land) primary function is defined as revenue generation to fund education, which is currently running a $100M+ deficit. It's tough for me to prioritize possible hunting access in another century (I'm not even sure we'll be allowed to hunt in the next century) for a huge bump in revenue today and in perpetuity. (Also, Wyoming has not seen the explosive growth you refer to and has been seen in CO, ID, Utah, etc.). In fact, since 2010 11,800 more people have left the state than moved to the state.
I'm not really even talking about hunting... what about just recreation... taking your dog for a walk.

The west is incredible myopic about urban planning/ public land/green space etc. seems like we take a 10 year view to anything. I grew up in the west and recently moved to Boston... first thing I realized... WOW Denver basically doesn't have any parks in the entire city (Comparatively)... Bozeman same thing.

That adage, they aren't making more land... seems like it really starts to make gravy when you put it on a long time line... 50 years... 100.

No one thought Denver would be surrounding DIA 15 years ago. I see your point about WY... but I think it's coming.
 

glassy

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
40
As a landowner I was thinking about how to reply to this question. Thanks to @Cornell Cowboy I will not have to. His answer is more eloquent than anything I could have done.
@antlerradar, would love to hear your thoughts as well. I agree with @Cornell Cowboy that I don't think we're going to get anywhere by pointing fingers and having each side dig our heels in. I definitely want to respect landowner's rights, but also would like to see that reciprocated towards the public landowner as @Dirthog67 mentioned. As Tom stated in the podcast, "No one asks what the rights of the public are on these lands."

I'm a landowner as well, albeit in the Midwest, but I hunt the West every year. I'll admit that I wouldn't particularly love having just anyone come and cross at the corner of my property, but that has a lot more to do with the general stereotype of hunters as a group (i.e. I'd be more than happy to see classy, intelligent, hardworking hunters cross and would probably even help them out with info, etc.). We actually have a tangentially similar scenario on our land where a trout stream comes very close to the road right-of-way and people will park there and go fish. I don't really mind that they fish, but it would be nice if they asked first and it drives me nuts when garbage gets left on the bank or, worse, in the stream. I'm not saying that nicely asking a landowner to corner cross out West is going to magically open all kinds of access for a savvy hunter as I think those days are long gone. What I am saying is that I don't think the bad apples do us any favors when it comes to gaining access (not to mention public perception as a whole).
 

glassy

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
40
First, I don't think anyone is served well by the ambiguity of the legality of corner crossing. I think the best place to start is to define clearly if corner crossing is legal.
This is a great point, and I think is what I was hoping to gain some perspective on. What is the best way to do this? From the podcast I heard a few general approaches:

1. Contact BLM administrators and put on pressure to gain access to checkerboard parcels
2. Contact U.S. Attorney and file a grievance that you are being withheld from accessing your own public lands
-the grievance might even be against the states themselves, which some claim that corner crossing is illegal
3. Go cross a corner and let the warden/sheriff and landowner know in advance. Get ticketed and let the courts decide
-e.g. like the Wyoming corner crossing case

Other options might be:

-write senators and reps. (because this always works so great)
-encourage groups like BHA, etc. to lobby senators and reps (almost certainly more effective than the point above)
 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
101,687
Messages
1,626,311
Members
31,797
Latest member
Jdawg_iii
Top