San Juan County, Utah v. United States

Salt Creek Road is an unimproved 12.3-mile road intertwined with the creek bed in Salt Creek Canyon. The state and county wanted to use their claimed right-of-way to prevent the United States from closing the Salt Creek Road to vehicle traffic. The road is the primary way for tourists to reach several scenic sites within the Canyonlands National Park, including Angel Arch. Without vehicle access, the only way to access Angel Arch is to make the nine-mile trek by foot. The state and county based their claim on Revised Statute (R.S.) 2477: "[T]he right of way for the construction of highways over public lands, not reserved for public uses, is hereby granted." Congress enacted R.S. 2477 in 1866, and it remained in effect until 1976. Even then, however, Congress preserved the rights-of-way established under the statute. This Quiet Title Act case presented to the Tenth Circuit the issue of whether the district court erred in rejecting the claims of San Juan County and the State of Utah to Salt Creek Road. Finding no reversible error, the Tenth Circuit affirmed. View "San Juan County, Utah v. United States " on Justia Law