Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Supreme Court to hear challenge to Forest Service's 'rails to trails' program
The Supreme Court today granted review of a Wyoming man's challenge to a Forest Service claim that it has a right to build a trail on his land. At issue in Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. USA is the Forest Service's program for turning abandoned railways into trails, or rails-to-trails. Brandt, of Fox Park, owns 83 acres of land he acquired from the Forest Service in 1976. The land was once part of a government easement for a railroad that operated from 1904 to 1995. The Laramie, Hahn's Peak and Pacific Railroad Co. operated the track, which ran 66 miles from Laramie, Wyo., to the Colorado line. In April 2005, the Forest Service announced it wanted to convert the railway into a public trail. About a year later, the agency sued Brandt and others, claiming it has a right to roughly 28 miles of land. The service said it has a "reversionary interest" in the land under the 1875 General Railroad Right-of-Way Act. A federal district court and later a federal appeals court agreed, ordering Brandt to turn over title to the land. William Perry Pendley, president of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, a nonprofit representing the Brandts, said the case may settle long-standing legal issues surrounding the rails-to-trails program. "We are thrilled that the Supreme Court agreed to hear this vitally important matter in which the federal government has embarked upon a massive, nationwide land grab," he said in a statement...more