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Thread: access issues

  1. #1
    Member walk-in's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    North Pole

    Default access issues

    Here is a "hypothetical" situation I'd like to get some opinions on. Suppose you wanted to hunt an area that you would access via a public trail. Suppose this is an ATV trail which has been used by the public for many years. The trailhead is on a public road, but the trail does cross private land. Suppose the landowner decides to post a prominent sign which says "No hunting ON or FROM this property" and confronts/harasses hunters at the trailhead in an effort to keep them from using the trail. Apparently, he believes that having hunters cross his property on the trail is bad for business since he runs a "hypothetical" business which depends on tourists. What would you do?
    As you may have guessed, this is not really a hypothetical situation. My personal opinion is that he can't determine who is or is not allowed to use the trail or what they will do once they have passed through his property.

  2. #2
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Wasilla, Alaska, United States

    Default wave as you drive by.....

    I've seen this very problem on a couple of trails (King river being almost identical). If the trail has been an established trail that gives access to public land then it is the landowners responsibility to allow the public through. The guy that owned the land where the original trail near King River went through complained and gave us a major bad time for a while. He was finally straightened out about the law and ended up moving the trail to the outskirts of his property. He wanted to shut the trail down but was not allowed to since it was an established route. They did allow him to move it though. The landowner you are speaking of would have every right to make a different route if he wants to go through the expense. Other than that, tough. Thats what he gets for buying property that includes a trailhead. Maybe he should start an ATV tour business instead.

    The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    Default legally

    it's known as a presciptive easement. a good example is the chickaloon road(in the village). remember when all the nutjobs up there tried to block the road? troopers moved in and cleared em out; it has legal access.

  4. #4
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Bethel, Cantwell, Fort Yukon, Skagway, Chevak and Point Hope


    He has every right to post his property "No hunting on of from this property". What he does not have the right to do now after all these years is to block access., I believe that if this trail has been in use by the public for more than 7 years with no attempt to prevent it's use before that 7 years is up it becomes a public trail that cannot have access denied to it. The State DNR has maps of public access trails that lead to public land that is behind privately owned land.

  5. #5
    Member homerdave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    homer, alaska

    Default depends on what you want to spend.

    and what he wants to spend to fight you. there are a number of reasons the trail may or may not be public use, but if both sides want to fight about it you will likely end up in court.
    just because a route is an arguable easement, trail, or RS2477 it does not mean the landowner can't/won't block or destroy the trail to jerk you around.
    until a battle has been fought and won (or lost) all you have is two sides with differing opinions.
    my advice is to get together with other trail users and hire an experienced property rights lawyer.
    Alaska Board of Game 2015 tour... "Kicking the can down the road"


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