Environmental groups say they support corner crossings in Wyoming case



BILLINGS – Four environmental groups earlier appealed to the U.S. 10th Circuit, calling a Wyoming landowner lawsuit “unlawful and unreasonable” seeking to prosecute four hunters for trespassing on public land where antlers intersect. A court brief was submitted to the court. Month.

The group includes Great Old Broads for Wilderness, GreenLatinos, Sierra Club, and Western Watersheds Project.

The brief is the latest in a series of lawsuits brought by Fred Eshelman and his appeal of an April ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl. Skavdahl ruled that four Missouri hunters did not trespass when they crossed from Bureau of Land Management property at the corner of public land in 2020 and 2021. The men used ladders to walk from one corner of the survey marker to the other.

These groups are the latest to join a hotly contested lawsuit (Iron Bar Holdings v. Bradley Cape et al.) that could affect access to 8.3 million acres of public land in the West. It is. In November, the Montana Property Owners Federation filed a court brief supporting Eshelman’s claims.

On the other side of the debate is Thomas Delehanty, an attorney with Earthjustice.

Mr. Delehanty wrote in his brief: “The Iron Bar lawsuit aims to remove the public from public land near Elk Mountain and allow millionaire owners to claim the land for themselves. This ploy is based on blackmail, It is part of a broader pattern across the West of private landowners seeking to control access to public lands by force, force, and other illegal means.

Eshelman’s ranch includes 6,000 acres of public land. In 2022, a jury acquitted Hunter and others of trespassing, WyoFile reported. Mr. Eshelman, a North Carolina pharmaceutical magnate, then filed a civil suit against the four, leading to Mr. Skavdahl’s judgment last May.

“Retaining the iron rod would declare that private property rights to inches of airspace trump the most reasonable access to millions of acres of public land that we all own.” Mr. Delehanty insisted.

While the issue of corner crossings primarily resonates with hunters, the filing indicates that other non-consumptive public land users are also concerned about the outcome of the case.

“The public, not just hunters, should have the same right to reasonable access to their land as private landowners,” Eric Molver, executive director of the Western Watersheds Project, said in a press release. said.

Sarah Husby, executive director of Great Old Broads for Wilderness, said the finding in Eshelman’s favor “effectively privatizes public lands that are rightfully held in trust for the benefit of all Americans.” It would be equivalent to “.”

The group’s brief can be read online at earthjustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/public-land-amici-brief-in-supp.-def-appellees-1.12.24.pdf.

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