Refuge Rights-of-Way & Easements
R.S. 2477 (Revised Statutes Section 2477)
Section 2477 of the Revised Statutes (R.S. 2477) emerged from Section
8 of the Mining Act of 1866, in order to promote public highway construction
through the largely unsettled western territories. This section provided:
That the right of way for the construction of highways over public
lands, not reserved for public uses, is hereby granted.
R.S. 2477 was repealed on October 21, 1976 by the Federal Land and
Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). 43
U.S.C. § 932. Because FLPMA did not terminate valid existing
rights-of-way, the existence and extent of many R.S. 2477 claims remains
According to Federal policy, to establish a valid R.S. 2477 claim,
the claimant must provide evidence that prior to the repeal of R.S.
2477 on October 21, 1976 that:
- Construction on the right-of-way occurred;
- The right-of-way constituted a highway and was used as a thoroughfare
by the public for the passage of vehicles carrying people or goods from
place to place; and
- The lands over the right-of-way were not withdrawn, reserved or otherwise
made unavailable for a R.S. 2477 claim.
Under a validated R.S. 2477 claim, the Federal government retains ownership
of the land subject to the State’s public highway right-of-way.
Last updated: August 26, 2008
Realty & Natural Resources
Alaska National Wildlife Refuge Home
Alaska Region Home