The Salt Lake Tribune wrote a scathing editorial featuring Congressman Steve Pearce this morning, and legislation he wrote that some are calling a land grab. It wasn’t pretty:
There have been many proposals for clarifying road rights of way in the West. The one being sponsored by New Mexico Republican Rep. Steve Pearce is the worst.
This land-grab legislation would require a state or county wanting to claim ownership of a route across federal land – even in national parks, wilderness study areas or, astoundingly, defense installations – to present only an official map, presumably from any era, or an aerial photograph showing the road existed prior to 1986.
Title would be granted and the state or county could do as it wished with the road without approval of any federal agency or the military.
It ended on a sour note as well:
Pearce’s legislation would erase what little progress has been made toward resolving the roads issue and impose a standard of proof of historical use so ridiculously low that virtually all public lands would be open to virtually any use, no matter how potentially destructive.
The Caspar Star Tribune had the full story last week, if you want some background.