Friday, February 14, 2014

Area residents face difficulties accessing recreational land

Amarillo, TX - There are 12,000 acres of land available for public recreational use just north of Amarillo, but it is not easy to get to. The Cross Bar Ranch is used by area residents for hiking, hunting, horseback riding and camping. However, accessing the land is a challenge. Right now the ranch is landlocked by private owners and the only way in is through a muddy riverbed. "People can get to the Cross Bar Ranch by walking to it," said Bureau of Land Management representative Samuel Burton. "Of course we would prefer to have more easier access for the public to this land. And that's currently what's being discussed in current public meetings." The only way to gain easier access is if the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) can negotiate an access agreement or a land purchase with a private owner. Burton said private owners have had some issues with the public illegally crossing their land to get to the ranch and vandalizing their property. The BLM is asking for public support so it can further its efforts to provide easier access...more

Don't have any other facts on this situation, but "further its efforts" to acquire access may mean eminent domain.  The only authority BLM has to exercise eminent domain is "if necessary to secure access to public lands, and then only if the lands so acquired are confined to as narrow a corridor as is necessary to serve such purpose." (Sec. 205 of FLPMA)

They could, of course, acquire access by land exchange or by purchasing an easement.

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