Wyoming BLM and Roads

shannerdrake

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2017
Messages
288
Location
Indiana
Hey All,
As I’ve shared earlier, I am heading out to Wyoming (Region C) to chase deer. I have spent hours on locating some good looking areas and understanding the access issues common with that area.
However, I am still needing to clarify how the roads and trails on BLM and state land work. How I understand it, if there is a BLM road that connects to a public road and does NOT cross through private, then I am legal to drive on that road. Is this correct?
What are the rules for gas/oil roads? If they connect to public roads and stay on BLM the entire time, can I assume it is legal to drive on them?
I ordered 7 BLM maps for the area and the newest one is from 2013 and the oldest is from 2008. I can tell from OnX and the various mapping software that there are many different and additional roads than on the old BLM maps. Almost all going to some extraction sight.
Just wanting to make sure I’m legal and planning on exactly where the roads end for my hunting. I don’t want to hike back 5 miles only to have someone drive down an extraction road and park 500 yards away.
 

ElkFever2

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Messages
3,541
Location
Iowa
However, I am still needing to clarify how the roads and trails on BLM and state land work. How I understand it, if there is a BLM road that connects to a public road and does NOT cross through private, then I am legal to drive on that road. Is this correct?
What are the rules for gas/oil roads? If they connect to public roads and stay on BLM the entire time, can I assume it is legal to drive on them?
Yes and yes. Pay very close attention to 2-tracks that pass through corners and edges of private, sometimes by just 10-15 feet…they are NOT legal to drive through or take your vehicle off road from the 2-track to hug the public.
 

CJnGA

Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
55
I deer hunted WY C last year. It's frustrating seeing how much landlocked land there is there - some big tracks where the road is literally tens of feet away (not miles or even hundreds of feet) from the property line. I specifically remember one corner where the BLM property line is literally 10' from the shoulder of the road and there is a sign on that corner by the owner that owns the 10' shoulder that makes sure you know "you can't get to it, so don't even try".

One tip that I was given is to find the county tax record maps which show which roads are publicly maintained - that will give you a more definitive view of what is actually a public road more than Google or OnX which tend to err on the side of "it looks like a road, so it must be public".
 

ElkFever2

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
Messages
3,541
Location
Iowa
One tip that I was given is to find the county tax record maps which show which roads are publicly maintained - that will give you a more definitive view of what is actually a public road more than Google or OnX which tend to err on the side of "it looks like a road, so it must be public".
That works great except for the 2-tracks are not on the county maintenance map. You basically have to study the plat carefully for those.
 

KMO385

New member
Joined
Aug 24, 2021
Messages
11
I deer hunted WY C last year. It's frustrating seeing how much landlocked land there is there - some big tracks where the road is literally tens of feet away (not miles or even hundreds of feet) from the property line. I specifically remember one corner where the BLM property line is literally 10' from the shoulder of the road and there is a sign on that corner by the owner that owns the 10' shoulder that makes sure you know "you can't get to it, so don't even try".

One tip that I was given is to find the county tax record maps which show which roads are publicly maintained - that will give you a more definitive view of what is actually a public road more than Google or OnX which tend to err on the side of "it looks like a road, so it must be public".
I just ran into that problem scouting. It was a road in Wyoming that look like a county road, it was a very well maintained private road. At least the guy was nice about it.
 

CJnGA

Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
55
That works great except for the 2-tracks are not on the county maintenance map. You basically have to study the plat carefully for those.
Correct. The county map is only going to help you find roads that give you public access onto the BLM - it's not going to help you navigate when you get off the public road and onto the BLM 'roads'/trails.
 

wytex

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2016
Messages
2,642
Location
Wyoming
You need a BLM land status map, it shows the roads on BLM lands.
On BLM lands you are almost always good to go on any well established 2 track, meaning road tracks not just where someone drove recently off road.

County Road and Bridge Dept have maps showing their county maintained roads, most are public but some can be maintained for emergency purposes. Contact them via email about specific roads if public or not.

If a road crosses into private and is signed then you must stop.
 

npaden

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Messages
3,849
Location
Lubbock, Texas
You need a BLM land status map, it shows the roads on BLM lands.
On BLM lands you are almost always good to go on any well established 2 track, meaning road tracks not just where someone drove recently off road.

County Road and Bridge Dept have maps showing their county maintained roads, most are public but some can be maintained for emergency purposes. Contact them via email about specific roads if public or not.

If a road crosses into private and is signed then you must stop.
I wonder what the exact rule is on this.

I have a spot where I hunt (when I actually draw a tag) where there is a sign on the gate saying private property no trespassing. The fence and the gate are almost 1/2 mile away from the nearest private property. The 2 track continues on BLM and then crosses a tiny corner of private land and then continues on BLM. There is no marking at the point that the road actually crosses the private property.

I've always parked the truck at the point where it would have crossed the private land and walked in from there as much as a mile to check out where the antelope usually hang out on BLM property.

It sure is tempting to just continue on over that corner of the private that isn't marked but I've always assumed the no trespassing sign back about 1/2 mile down the road on BLM property would count for that tiny corner of private the road crosses.
 

Bob-WY

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2020
Messages
481
It can get tricky, there's a county road where I live that crosses BLM/state, then goes through private, touches public, then all private for a couple miles. the gate on one end between state/BLM and private has no signs on the gate but just on the side of the road on the private. I "thought" this meant the road was private. Nope, checked with county, sheriff and GW, all said the road all the way through is public, just don't leave that road
 

neffa3

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 17, 2015
Messages
6,122
Location
Wenatchee
There are also some cases where there is a public access easement through private. Those can be rather tricky to verify.
 

CJnGA

Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
55
It would make sense to me that if a road is maintained by the county, it should be public to travel on for as far as the county maintains it - public taxes fund the maintenance, so public should be able to use it. However, I know common sense doesn't apply to every case like we would like for it to.

Two-tracks on BLM is where it gets messy. They aren't really prescribed route roads, it's just where folks have consistently travelled. And if the bordering private land owner is the one that originally set the path that crosses their land before continuing back onto BLM, it's either really genius on their part or just dumb luck - probably a little of both.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
97,597
Messages
1,489,792
Members
30,740
Latest member
DadBodHero
Top