Judge rules largely in favor of Utah on rural roads dispute

Posted: Mar 25, 2013

Written by

Brooke Adams, Salt Lake Tribune
RS 2477

A federal judge handed a landmark victory to Kane County and the state of Utah on Wednesday in a years-long dispute with the federal government over whether some rural routes should remain in use as roads, or if they should be closed to the public.

In two decisions, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups found he had jurisdiction to hear Kane County’s claim, gave parameters for "reasonable" right-of-way widths on some routes and determined that 12 of 15 routes in dispute were roads and therefore accessible by the public.

The distinction hinged on an 1866 law through which Congress sought to encourage development by allowing local jurisdictions to manage routes across public lands; the law was repealed in 1976 by Revised Statute 2477.

Of the 12 routes deemed roads, four are in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The rest are on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management’s Kanab office.

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