Does the National Forest Service Need to Recognize a Prescriptive Easement?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“This family has settled this land 100 years ago. At the turn of the century loggers started this road to reach the top of this ridge which crossed thier land as will as someone elses. Ever since than the family for 5 generations have used this single lane pathway, and has taken care of it. The other owners land is now part of the national forest approx. 500 feet to get to their property. This isn’t the primary access to their property where the family cabin/house is. When the second generation owner sold 30 acres next to this 500 feet she recorded an easement back in 1968. So that they could still use this pathway. Now the current owner of the 30 acres complained to the forest service and the have recently de-constructed the pathway, and put up concrete barriers. The question is does the national forest have to recognize perscriptive easements?”Well, you cannot get a prescriptive easement against government land, at least not in my state. However, in your situation the forest service may need to recognize this easement, either because a) it is explicit, not prescriptive, or b) it was in existence before they owned the property, and therefore they took subject to the burdens on the previous owner.

Question: Whether the facts of your situation will support one of these arguments is difficult to say. You should consult with a local attorney to determine how best to proceed.