From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 6, Number 37 - December 7, 2006
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

County declines LaBarge easement

by Cat Urbigkit

On Tuesday, the Sublette County Commission declined an easement for a portion of the LaBarge Creek Road.

Linda Zager gifted her property to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, while retaining a life estate in the property. The easement offered by RMEF was less than the 100-foot wide easement the county wanted, with RMEF instead offering a 20-foot easement.

The county has sought easements or rights-of-way from five private property owners along the road for several years.

“It’s my opinion we should ask for the same thing we get from the BLM,” Sublette County Surveyor Paul Scherbel said.

Commission Chair Betty Fear said that as she recalls from a previous meeting with the landowners, “they don’t want a better road through the property.”

Scherbel said: “This is not an easement but a license. A termination clause after 30 years is stated.”

Scherbel said this is similar to the easements granted by the Bureau of Land Management, “which are in fact licenses.”

Scherbel also didn’t like the limited license offered by the easement, noting, “The use of the license is extremely limited and does not include such things as logging trucks, oil and gas field vehicles, nor snowmobiles.”

The draft easement document, written by an attorney for the RMEF, noted that the purpose of easement “is for the sole purpose of maintaining, repairing and using a non-paved road no more than 20 feet in width.”

“I would be reluctant to accept anything less, as I envision that sooner or later the feds will get around to improving this road including paving,” Scherbel advised the commission.

Scherbel recommended the offer be rejected, concluding: “I don’t believe that the road may be closed by that entity and so we are in a good position to sit it out. Then let the feds condemn when it comes time to pave the roadway.”

After briefly discussing the issue, the commission decided to send a letter back to RMEF stating, “thanks, but no thanks.”

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