Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Rails to Trails legal standing challenged at the US Supreme Court

Med Bow Rail Trail
There is unsettling news which I first came across in  Biking Bis by Gene Bisbee.  The US Supreme Court is hearing the case Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust et al., v. United States which challenges General Railroad Right of Way Act of 1875, a law that granted land use rights to railroads for the purpose of developing transportation in the western states.  The 1875 law stated that when the railroad was abandoned, the property would return to the United States.   The law has been instrumental in developing the Rails To Trails community paths in much of the west.  The court action concerns a short section of the Medicine Bow Rail-Trail, a US Forest Service multi use trail, but the court decision could affect many trails already in existence or proposed, including the John Wayne Pioneer Trail.  Reading the summary from Scotusblog.com it is possible that this proceeding will only apply to the particular way that land was traded between the US Forest Service and the land owners filing the appeal.  We will follow this with interest.

US Supreme Court battle threatens rail-trails  by Gene Bisbee

Argument Recap on Scotusblog.com

Recording of proceedings

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