The State of Utah’s Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office (PLPCO) invites you to explore Utah’s magnificent public lands. Utah has some of the most beautiful and varied landscapes in the country and it is part of PLPCO’s mission to protect public access to public lands so Utahns and visitors alike can enjoy this shared resource. Millions of acres of public land can be accessed by long-standing historical roads, some of which were created by early pioneers and settlers.
Special interest groups frequently attempt to close roads and reduce access to public lands in the name of conservation. Hands-off land management is not a sustainable form of conservation, as highlighted by the number and size of catastrophic wildfires occurring on public lands following decades of hands-off management.
Access Map 360°
Utah’s Access Map 360° web application highlights roads that provide access to Utah’s public lands (primarily those managed by the BLM). The Access Map brings together a single operational dashboard combining maps, geographic information systems (GIS), and 360° geo-immersive panoramic video to facilitate exploration and discovery of Utah’s public lands. Use this tool to explore your public lands, plan routes for your next adventure, and safely discover new places.
R.S. 2477 = Access to Public Lands
Revised Statute 2477 is a federal law that authorized construction of roads across federal public lands. This law helped settle the West for 110 years. Residents of Utah, visitors, pioneers, and settlers created and used thousands of roads across public lands for farming, ranching, hunting, recreating, mining, and connecting communities. As Utahns, we continue to use many of these roads daily, and others occasionally or seasonally.
Congress repealed R.S. 2477 in 1976 and replaced it with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). This law departed from pro-development land policy and established a preference for retaining lands in federal ownership. Nonetheless, Section 701 of FLPMA preserved all R.S. 2477 rights-of-way that existed at the time FLPMA was passed and preserved them for public use. Today, the state and counties have to rely on R.S. 2477 to establish ownership and management authority of roads that have been used continuously for at least ten years prior to 1976.
R.S. 2477 Legal Objectives
- to confirm the State and counties as owners of the R.S. 2477 rights-of-way
- to allow counties to make local decisions about route maintenance
- to ensure public access to federal public lands for recreation, personal enjoyment, and any other purpose
- to preserve local transportation networks for local economies
The Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office (PLPCO):
PLPCO staff assist the Utah Attorney General’s Office in R.S. 2477 litigation by providing research and litigation support. Staff are currently assisting with depositions of witnesses who used or maintained R.S. 2477 roads prior to 1976. These Utah residents confirm that R.S. 2477 roads have been historically important to their lives and livelihoods. Many of them are getting older, and their personal accounts may be lost with the passage of time as the lawsuits continue. To prevent the loss of this valuable testimony, PLPCO and the Utah Attorney General’s Office are deposing these witnesses to preserve their knowledge for presentation later in court.
Help Utah Preserve Access to your Roads.
What Is R.S. 2477
R.S. 2477 (Revised Statute 2477) was a federal law that authorized construction of roads across federal public lands from 1866 to 1976. During those years, residents of Utah, visitors, pioneers, and settlers created and used thousands of roads across public lands for farming, ranching, hunting, recreating, mining, and connecting communities. Many of these routes continue to be used daily, and some occasionally or seasonally.
What Does R.S. 2477 Have to do With Me?
Were you out on the roads in Utah before 1976, for ranching, hunting, recreation or any other purpose? If so, then the State needs your help to preserve access to these right-of-ways. If you are willing to share your past experiences using Utah’s public roads, please contact the Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office.