Utah Roads Case Could Set Precedents

Utah Roads Case Could Set Precedents

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals is considering a case involving three Utah counties that could determine whether Western localities can own roads and trails across millions of acres of federal land.

Yesterday, Kane, Garfield and San Juan counties told the three-judge panel that the Bureau of Land Management has no jurisdiction over their right-of-way claims.

The current legal battle began nine years ago when the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and the Sierra Club sued after the counties graded roads in areas under review for wilderness protection.

The outcome probably will determine whether states can claim ownership of trails and roads on federal land, including national parks.

If they lose, it will mean the federal government retains control and can continue to impose restrictions on land use.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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