Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,800+ case briefs...

Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance v. BLM

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
425 F.3d 735 (10th Cir. 2005)


In 1996, road crews retained by the Counties of San Juan, Kane, and Garfield (counties) (defendants) graded 16 roads in Utah without prior federal approval. The counties claimed the roads as rights of way under Revised Statute (R.S.) 2477, which granted a right of way for highway construction over public lands not reserved for public use. The roads were located in federal wilderness, national-monument, and national-park areas. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) (plaintiff) protested the grading to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) (defendant), which declined to take action. SUWA sued the counties and the BLM for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that the counties had engaged in unlawful road construction and that the BLM’s inaction violated federal law. The BLM filed a crossclaim against the counties, claiming that the road construction constituted trespass and degradation of federal property. Both SUWA and the BLM argued that “construction” under R.S. 2477 referred to mechanical construction rather than continuous public use, because a continuous-public-use standard would result in multiple claims beyond the scope of R.S. 2477. The counties argued that their activities were not trespass, because the activities were conducted within the physical boundaries of the right of way. The district court ruled for SUWA and the BLM, and the counties appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (McConnell, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 498,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 498,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,800 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial