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Supreme Court ruling re: Rails to Trails

Old 03-12-14, 11:35 AM
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Supreme Court ruling re: Rails to Trails

Not sure this is of interest here, but the Supreme Court issued a ruling yesterday that could have a chilling effect on the "rails to trails" movement. You can read about it here. I sure hope this does not bring an end to "rails to trails", which I think is terrific.
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Old 03-12-14, 12:18 PM
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I dont see this as anything to be to concerned about. Its an isolated case. I believe most communities look forward to having a rail trail near them as this helps promote business in the area.
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Old 03-12-14, 12:23 PM
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The way I read it, the bicycle connection is coincidental to this case. This seems to be about how old land-use deals terminate between private citizens and the US Government, right? Also demonstrates that the US Gov really doesn't have adequate resource to manage their land-use activities over the long run. shocking! <grin>
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Old 03-12-14, 12:51 PM
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I think it should revert back to the original owners.

----> Native Americans <------

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Old 03-12-14, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Ciufalon
Not sure this is of interest here, but the Supreme Court issued a ruling yesterday that could have a chilling effect on the "rails to trails" movement. You can read about it here. I sure hope this does not bring an end to "rails to trails", which I think is terrific.
Don't be an alarmist. Did you read the actual opinion? This is a relatively unique case that involves a trail that is on a former right-of-way granted by the government to a railroad pursuant to a federal dating back to 1875. The basics are that the right-of-way in question was granted to a railroad pursuant to an 1875 law. The petitioner/land owner was subsequently granted a land patent by the government subject to the railroad's interest. A successor railroad eventually abandoned the line and then a trail was created. The petitioner argued that the original grant to the railroad only created an easement, which was extinguished upon abandonment. The government claimed that, despite the abandonment, it retained an interest in the right of way and thus could establish a trail. Problem was that, in an earlier case before the Supreme Court, the government had argued that a grant to a railroad under the same 1875 law only gave the railroad an easement which was extinguished upon abandonment. The government took that in that case position because it wanted the mineral rights under the abandoned right of way. The Supreme Court agreed with the government. In sum, the government, in the case you reference, took a contrary position to the position it took in the earlier case.
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Old 03-12-14, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by blacknbluebikes
The way I read it, the bicycle connection is coincidental to this case. This seems to be about how old land-use deals terminate between private citizens and the US Government, right?
Right. The former right of way in question could have been being used for something else and the outcome would have been the same.

Personally, I think the land owner is simply looking for money, which is his right. But be honest about it. Don't give some lame excuse about a trail ruining your view. Don't see why the government could not simply condemn an easement for the trail. If it did/does, it would have to compensate the land owner. Assuming it can condemn an easement, I have to wonder if the government spent more money on legal fees that it would have had it simply condemned the easement.
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Old 03-12-14, 07:34 PM
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Here's a link to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's thoughts on the Supreme Court decision:

The Supreme Court Decision: How Does It Affect Rail-Trails? - RTC TrailBlog - Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
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