[Commentary and documents provided by Pat Flanagan]
The BLM believes they have the legal right to connect public land parcels together using county un-maintained dirt roads. I believe this is incorrect – our dirt roads, a legacy of the Small Tracts Act (STA), are considered by the County, based on case law and the STA, to constitute legal right-of-way (ROW) for those entitled to use them, i.e. the public and utility companies.
The documents provided here, especially the STA pamphlet and Penfold letter and County opinion, need to be readily available to anyone wanting to understand their legal position should BLM open County un-maintained dirt roads to OHV riding.
The Full text of the Small Tracts Act/STA is within a pamphlet issued by the BLM in 1958 that explains all you need to know to take advantage of the STA purpose to make 5 acre parcels of public land available for purchase. The intent of the Rights-of-Way (ROW) easements are discussed. If you live on a dirt road in the Morongo Basin you can look to the origin of the road in the STA - ROW.
The Penfold letter is from a federal official in the Dept. of Interior clarifying the dedication of STA ROWs. The final page of this pdf is a memo from the County Surveyor (1991) acknowledging their legal use by the public and for utilities. The roads do not need an acceptance by the public or by a governmental agency.
The Public Easement Property Owners Guide - it is just that.
A summary of all these issues is contained in this document.
Note: There is a BLM Open House in Yucca Valley on April 19 about this and related issues. The same meeting will be held in Barstow the next day.
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