The Siskiyou Wilderness –- one of America’s oldest
designated wilderness areas –-is threatened by a bogus claimed
‘highway’ to a private land inholding.
Get background on the threat from the Siskiyou Project. When the
owner of the inholding demanded motor vehicle access to the
40-year-old wilderness area, the Forest Service balked, and the
land-owner went to federal court claiming an RS 2477 right-of-way. But
a judge’s magistrate didn’t buy it, finding the owner of the inholding
waited too long to press his case. See the magistrate’s January 2005 “findings
Grant County, Oregon, is in the process of hiring what
it is calling a “Road Historian” to help it and the Forest Service
inventory and determine the status and history of roads in the county
as part of an effort to determine which, if any, of the roads fall
under RS 2477. The
Blue Mountain Eagle of John Day, Oregon, reports on a recent affair
(the county’s annual Road Kill Chili Feed), where a local county
judge, Dennis Reynolds, outlined the historian-hiring process.
"The U.S. Forest Service is not a road authority. The
County Court is. We took an oath to protect the rights of the people,"
Reynolds explained in a prelude to the reasoning behind the road
historian position. He said that the county needed to inventory and
identify the county roads to aid the planning of the road maintenance
program and to gather data for the roadmaster. He elaborated that the
county already spent $60,000 for someone to read all the court
documents relating to the history of the roads, but the court needs to
research the roads through the present day to establish whether or not
they are eligible to be declared public rights-of-way, legally still
Most of the questions posed to Reynolds involved
maintenance and specific or private roads. "It gets complicated,” he
National Forest, in northeast Oregon,
is 2.3 million acres managed by the National Forest Service. The
Travel Management Plan Committee for the Forest extended the comment
period related its road inventory process by offering a public meeting
Monday, October 15. The Committee proposes to close up to 30% of
previously maintained roads and will likely hear more outcry from
Baker County residents and officials who claim a right to the roads
for their ORVs and recreational use.
Read an October 9, 2007 article in The Baker City Herald.