Landlocked Public Land – A Good Trade or Bad Trade?

When plans of a great hunt goes bad after doing your in depth homework on a hunting unit and finding it is too much work to make it fun and give up.  The great State of Oregon, as well as other western states in CONUS has a great amount of public land, whether it is National Forest, State Lands, and Bureau of Land Management lands.  Those that spend a great deal of their off time in the field hunting, fishing, hiking or whatever else takes them in to the field have found that there is a great deal landlocked public land that is very difficult to access.

In my younger days, with my hunting partners we challenged the access every year.  Having worked with paper maps in my early stages of my hunting life, too figure out how to get into the public lands was very time consuming.  Early on we would find the touching points and jump the line, though Wyoming was the first to make that illegal to do so.  Unless the government changes the use of satellites’, I will trust the modern day GPS or mobile device and my mapping software 100% as many paper maps and some mapping software are not accurate with all the changes going on.  How many still have 20+ year old National Forest maps and Rams maps?   Funny I just threw way in my recycle container all of my paper maps from the last 40 years…  That included the map of a certain hunt unit in Oregon that had more than 200 elk harvest from the circle of acquaintances’ over the years.

The other day after posting an old article about a land trade that was in the making back some years ago, I took some heavy hits from a rancher.  I understand where he was coming from and his comments were well said.  My feeling still did not wavier on the subject of that particular B.L.M. and private land trade, to free up B.L.M. that was encompassed with the private lands.  Reading the government/private land proposal, I personally and others that opposed it, knew that much of the public land would still only be used few and the private sector would still get the better deal.  The majority felt the only road into the new setup would be control by the private sector…  That would have been by a very big organization and not the ranchers.

This BLM which you can access, could have been lost to the public...

This BLM which you can access, could have been lost to the public…

As I am writing this article, I venture up in the hills outside of Molalla, Oregon looking for Blacktails to do a photo op.  I wanted to work around some old haunts in the upper area; low and behold I find that some of the BLM has been swapped out to a private timber company.  Weyerhaeuser property touches some of the property and the companies warning signs were in full view.  One has to love the BLM No Shooting Signs on posted on the BLM, and no residential structures in the area.  I feel it is an attempt to keep hunters from even going on the BLM, since there is private and timber company properties close by.

If the public (outdoor enthusiast) would look at computer or mobile device with mapping software such as the best being onXmaps HUNT , you’re going to be very surprise to see how much public land that is tied up and almost impossible to have access to.   The ranchers, farmers, and landowners have the access and it basically like an extension to their own land.  With money one can find a way in, such as being dropped in by a helicopter, parachute or even an ultralight…  You have to weigh the cost and still know you’re going to have to come back out the public landlocked land, without setting foot on private.

In this paragraph I am attaching number pictures of BLM land that the private land makes it basically landlocked.  There is a BLM Right-Away, yet the public can’t use it.  The land has caretakers or ranch hands that besides using it for their personnel use, act as if they own it, since the owner is not living on the property.   There are always two sides to the story of course, giving access to the public on the Right-Away and the public take advantage of it using the private land as well as the public land.  I do know that opposite side of the river in this attached map, the Right-Away is open for about 4 miles.  For the most part the public does adhere to the only using the public land.

The BLM Rd. on the east side is closed and locked. River crossing or 11 mile walk...

The BLM Rd. on the east side is closed and locked. River crossing or 11 mile walk…

BLM Rd. is accessible to the road closure, which is about 4 miles.

BLM Rd. is accessible to the road closure, which is about 4 miles.

There was a major poaching problem as far as I am concerned in 2016 prior to the opening hunt for Oregon with local Natives being able to have access year round to hunt when it necessary to do so based on treaties, even if they are trespassing.  It would not have been so bad if they had not cut the heads off and only took the backstraps only on the elk and deer they took on private land.  In this case the Right-Away is problem since they can drive and kill on both the public and private lands…   We have to remember that the land owners are not landlocked.  They can have easements with the B.L.M., in many cases they have the lease on public land.

Some of the greatest Mule Deer and Rocky Mtn. Elk hunting area...

Some of the greatest Mule Deer and Rocky Mtn. Elk hunting area…

Many years ago I had open access to a parcel of land in eastern Oregon, what a great deal it was for archery deer and elk hunting.   Most of the time in the gang, there were 4 of us.  In those days working in the sporting goods business, to buy a 4 way rifle which was an inexpensive way to give a gratuity to a rancher.   Many years later after the rancher sold-out, I went into the back country with my Garmin GPS and onXmaps HUNT software loaded on the GPS, low and behold much of the land that we travel through his fences to get to where all Federal lands (BLM/NF).    To access this land all one had to do was travel on another access point on federal lands.

If I was a private land owner; I would want all my lands in one parcel overall, as long as it has a good water source.  Saying this there are the ranchers that have the summer range and the winter range and that is important to them, and rightly so. The public should never lose access to public land in any state, and we (public) should never give up or lose the river or water rights to private, unless private land is already deeded with their water source and have the land to the navigational line in the sand so to speak.  The B.L.M., should never be allowed to take away land and the ranchers lose their water, a necessary commodity of life to a ranch.  The trades need to be even as they can, so both the public and the private benefit from the trade.

 

 

 

Bwana Bubba…