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Interior Trails Preservation Coalition v. Swope

Supreme Court of Alaska
115 P.3d 527 (2005)


Facts

Greg and Donna Swope (defendants) bought land near the Skyline Ridge Trail in 1997. The Swopes put up a barricade and a “no trespassing” sign when they saw numerous people crossing their property. In 2002, residents in the area formed a non-profit corporation, the Interior Trails Preservation Coalition (the Coalition) (plaintiff), to keep recreational trails open to the public. The Coalition sued the Swopes to establish a public prescriptive easement over the Swopes’ land, arguing that the public had used the land since the 1950s. The Swopes filed a motion to dismiss. The superior court granted the motion, ruling that (1) the Coalition did not have standing and (2) the Coalition had not been in existence long enough to satisfy the ten years of continuous use necessary to establish a prescriptive easement. The Coalition filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied. The coalition then petitioned the Supreme Court of Alaska for review, which was granted.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Bryner, C.J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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