Revised Statute 2477 (R.S. 2477) Claims

Congress enacted R.S. 2477
Natchez Trace Parkway, located between Natchez,
MS & Nashville, TN, Tupelo, Lee County, MS. Library of Congress,
(14 Stat. 253; 43 USC 932) as part of the Mining Law of 1866, granting rights-of-way to states, counties, and private entities for the construction of highways over public lands that were not reserved for public uses.  The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLMPA) repealed R.S. 2477 subject to “valid existing rights,” thereby allowing R.S. 2477 routes already in existence to continue in use. Stakeholders, from landowners to government organizations to recreation users, hold diverse and often conflicting understandings of the law and its repeal, including what comprises a valid R.S. 2477 route.  In recent years, litigation involving R.S. 2477 claims has been on the rise as states and counties seek to claim title to rights-of-way allegedly acquired pursuant to R.S. 2477 on federal land prior to 1976.

Badlands National Park, South Dakota.
Library of Congress, original digital file

Over the past three decades, Morgan, Angel & Associates has provided its expertise on numerous cases involving R.S. 2477 claims.  Morgan Angel researchers have the experience and know-how to locate, collect, and analyze historical documentation that help assess the validity of R.S. 2477 claims. This historical information has helped answer such fundamental questions as when a route was established, who constructed and used the route, the relative frequency with which the route was used and for what purpose(s) it was used.