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What is "Revised Statute R.S. 2477"?

During the period of expansion of the Western frontier (1796-1976), the U.S. Government embraced a policy of disposal of the federal lands, transferring them to private individuals, railroads, and states in order to provide a revenue base. In 1976, the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), changed the course of federal land policy from disposal to retention of public lands.

What is "Revised Statute 2477"?

R.S. 2477 was adopted by Congress in 1866 and granted a right-of-way for the construction of highways across public land not reserved for public uses. In the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), enacted in 1976, Congress repealed R.S. 2477, but did not terminate valid rights-of-way existing on the date of FLPMA's enactment. Inconsistent court decisions and incomplete guidance from Federal land managers over the succeeding years have not resulted in settling claims asserted under R.S. 2477.

In 1992, Congress directed the Department of the Interior to study the history, impacts, status and alternatives to R.S. 2477 rights-of-way and to make recommendations for assessing claims. As an essential element of the Department's study, officials sought input from and consulted with affected interests from the public land states, including public hearings conducted in Alaska, California, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Nevada and Utah. In addition, the Department received and reviewed more than 4,000 pages of written comments. In June, 1993, the Department reported the results of its study to Congress.

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