Public roads closed by land owners in Arkansas?

Discussion in 'Tejas and the Gulf States' started by joenuclear, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. joenuclear

    joenuclear Long timer

    Mar 16, 2007
    35.38386848360885 -94.37571685029297
    It appears there are some public roads that have gates and/or no trespassing signs posted on them in the Ozarks, Bostons and the Ouachitas.

    Is there a State agency to address this or is it up to the individual counties?

    The Texans have a thread that is starting to address this;

    I can understand a road being closed to the public if it does encroach on private property but I don't think a landowner should be able to close a road just because he owns both sides of the property.

    We fought this battle years ago [and won] over navigable streams when some landowners put bob-wire fences across canoe waters.
  2. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

    Mar 31, 2004
    Been a common thing in TX, hopefully it's not something that catches on here.
  3. arkansawyer

    arkansawyer Long timer

    Feb 9, 2008
    Hot Springs
    A lot of roads around here with green street signs and stop signs where they intersect a highway have gates. I don't like it but I don't know how to fight it.

    I'm figuring the large timber companies like leasing land to deer hunters $$$. Spotlighters cruising around poaching deer hurt the worth of a lease.
    They are tired of cleaning up dumps on their property ($$$).

    Is there a way to fight the closure of public roads?
  4. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Nov 1, 2006
  5. Rob Dirt

    Rob Dirt More or less in line

    Oct 6, 2006
    I've been bitching to people for years about this. Of course I'm referring to AL, but how can a person confiscate a road?
    Just the other day, I was riding in a Wildlife Management Area & a local guy stopped me & said "you know this is a private road"? I said "really? A private citizen built this road?" He got pissed & drove away. I need to update my helmet cam & start recording these idiots.
  6. slowoldguy

    slowoldguy Tire Tester

    Jun 3, 2004
    West of Waco, Texas
    In Texas, we check with our counties because the roads we are talking about are under county jurisdiction. The only problem is, in many/all of the counties we like to ride, the sympathy is clearly with the locals.'ll find the deputies giving really circuitous answers to direct questions on the public/private status of a road. And maybe sometimes even "less than fully truthful" answers, too. Same goes with the county employees.

    And many of the roads have in fact changed status officially from public to private. When we come to a gate, we ain't done in Texas. If it's un-locked (and sometimes there is a very visible lock but the chain is simply hung over a nail) and all other evidence points to public maintenance (mailboxes, graded, on the TXDOT grid, etc) we (sometimes) keep going.

    As a ranch owner myself I take private property rights and trespassing very seriously. If it is private, I don't want to be on it but if it's public, don't try to keep me off.

    BTW, even on many of our "public" roads there is no right of way on either side. These are "prescriptive" roads and nobody ever paid the landowner for the dirt (the road in front of my ranch is this way. I own to the center of the road and pay taxes on it, too). Your right is to traverse the road , not to pull off under that shade tree a few feet off the road.

    Do your research before you ride new country. Be respectful. Take your helmet off to talk. Go slow around livestock and homes. Be polite. Don't argue.

    I haven't been shot at. Yet.
  7. backwoodsKLR

    backwoodsKLR Ride more, Post Less.

    Apr 14, 2009
    Central Mississippi
    It's happening in Mississippi, too. Big hunting clubs, calling themselves "game preserves" buy up all the land on a gravel road, put up gates and declare it closed and private property. They tell the county they don't have to maintain it anymore and the county lets them do it. :dog:baldy
  8. DrLewall

    DrLewall The Human GPS

    Aug 20, 2008
    Banned Camp
    the guy who lives at the bottom of Warloop Rd wants to gate it and keep everyone off it! :huh
  9. Dragon43

    Dragon43 If you insist.

    Oct 18, 2008
    Central Arkansas
    Well, all those nasty Harley riders using it, who won't even wave at anybody, or be respectful as they just blast pass houses are just running things for everybody.

  10. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

    Dec 27, 2006
    chico,just below rag dump(nor-cal)
    Crazy desert rat people in Nevada string miles of wire fencing regardless of who owns what,they just dont want people any where near them. Then they drive around in their thrashed trucks with a 12 gauge and a case of beer on the seat,just looking for people to tell stay the hell out. Who wants to argue with that? I just dont stop.
  11. jgas

    jgas Stoogely Adventurerer

    Nov 7, 2006
    This is a huge problem in Ar. The more remote the place, the worse the problem. I know of about 20 acres right in the middle of the Ozark Nat Forest that a group, family, something, has just pulled old camper trailers and built homeade shelters and Army tents, and are just squatting on the land. I have heard from a Forest Service official that some of the family actually used to own a small acreage there, but then in the 1950s the FS forced them to sell when they built 3 watershed lakes in the area, and the land is in the drainage/floodplain. The people had no house there, but some time in the past their deceased relatives had lived there. They were paid for the land, but still claim it as their own. They have roads and fire trails blocked off and painted with that weird color purple paint you have to use to post land, but you can't legally post land that's not yours. These jackasses are probably making Meth, growing weed, making shine, and living off the land. There is a good fishing creek nearby, and the lakes. I woudn't care what they did as long as they left me alone, but they have roads and trails blocked off that I need to ride on. When they see me, they just stare me down like the inbred idiots they are. So far they haven't actually done anything, just dirty looks. A few years ago, the USFS told our local off road club we could make new singletrack trails and ride in this area, and I reported back to them that there were people living out there. They didn't seem too surprised. I think they already knew. I also think the USFS is scared to do anything about it, and is hoping we will. WE, always seems to be ME when it comes to exploring and making new trails. I love doing it, but I hope I don't get shot. I'd simply disappear and my body would never be found.

    A few years ago I was riding with several other guys in another area, on land and on a road marked on GPS and USFS maps as Nat Forest land. We came upon a huge brushhogged area in the middle of nowhere, posted and marked with signs as private. There were gates, but those were open so we kept on going. Finally we got chased by 2 guys on ATVs with shotguns! I was the only rider with a weapon, and there were 5 of us, 2 of them. I wanted to fight it out, or at least spread out and confront these idiots to learn if they actually had deed to the property, but my brave buddies ran like wild Turkeys! I've never seen a bunch of over 50 guys on loaded down DS bikes ride so fast! It became like the story of the 2 guys who had to outrun the bear: Neither had to really outrun the bear, but each had to outrun the other one! Once the panic flight insued, all I could do was make sure I wasn't last. Luckily we all got away, when we told the USFS they said they heard it all the time. Why don't they stop it? They are the only ones who can really prove that the land is government owned.

    The funny thing is, if these people merely used whatever patch of land they wanted, and never closed off roads caused any trouble, maybe even smiled and waved at others, they could probably do their own thing forever and no one would be the wiser. They are bringing attention to themselves, and eventually they will get kicked out when someone complains loud enough, or they shoot someone and get caught.

    The only legal way I can think of to bring attention to this is to make phone calls and write letters to everyone involved, and get every involved party to think they need to either do something, or make the other guy do something. Officials of all types, all over the world, are necessarily a little lazy, and a little paranoid. There is no way they can address every issue, but also no way they can ignore every issue. Especially when EVERYONE else involved knows what's up, and is asked to address it.

    If you contact the local law enforcement officials, whether local, county, state, federal, whatever, but ALSO contact their bosses, i.e. court officials, mayors, aldermen, state/federal/local wildlife management, local media, any and everyone you can think of who has a stake in the game and raise heck, and don't quit, you may start a shit storm and fling it on enough people until someone gets tired of having on their face and does something. I would probably do it anonymously,at least at first. Just keep writing letters, making phone calls, contacting each and everyone and don't stop. Might take months or years. Leave anonymous letters in the persons mail boxes or tacked to their fences/gates telling them what you have done. If you can do it safely, take down their fences/gates/ Let out livestock if they have it. Get sneaky. Get mean. Get determined.

    20 years ago I had permission from a gas company to ride on a section of pipeline. My stepfather knew someone who knew someone... One day I hit a nice natural terrain type jump made by an erosion runoff ditch. I'd been riding this section of pipeline for 10 years. It was a nice little 40ft jump. When I got airborne, I saw a brand new barbed wire fence strung all the way across the pipeline. Anyone would have hit it, it blended in with the tall grass, with a hill as a backdrop, and there was 75 feet of wire across this pipeline with NO fence posts. That is against Federal law. You have to mark any fence, even on private property so someone on a bike, horse, walking at night, Jeep, can see it. If you don't use posts you have to hang ribbon or signs every 35 feet or less plainly marking it so someone doesn't hit it. I hit it. Luckily, the wire didn't touch me, I just launched over and only broke my arm. Being from this local rural area, I started asking some questions and learned that some locals were illegally running cattle on a big section of the pipeline without permission. When I went back there, they had even posted it illegally with signs and purple paint. I called the pipeline company, they said they had NOT leased any land anywhere in that area for cattle or any other reason. I left a nice note on the fence telling them to please remove the fence. The pipeline company sent out an employee to try and find who was doing it, but they failed. I kept at it until I was positive who did it, and asked a friend who knew them to ask them to remove the wire and the cattle. They just put up more purple paint, added more cows, and started patrolling it on ATVS! I waited 3 months until it all died down. The pipeline company did nothing. I cut their wire in several places and shot bottle rockets at the cattle until they all ran off. The assholes fixed the fence and rounded up the cows. 2 months later I cut the fence and used a loud bike to run the cows off the pipeline, and I shot several of them with a pellet gun so they would run fast and far. I laid roofing tacks all around the edges of the area where someone would have to patrol on an ATV or 4x4. I put rocksalt in their watering pond. Cows won't drink heavily salted water, and if they do it will make them sick. I drilled holes in several of their fence posts and poured stump rot in them, and sprinkled the stump rot in the dirt around the bases of the posts. They took down the fences and removed the cows. I waited about 10 years and started riding there again. There is now no fences, and lots of people ride there now. Sometimes you just gotta be meaner. My damn arm still has a 10" plate and screws and still hurts when it gets cold. But there ain't no cows or fence on the pipeline.
  12. jgas

    jgas Stoogely Adventurerer

    Nov 7, 2006
    :wink:You gotta get mean. Public officials all over the world kind of only do what they have to, not what they should. They look at it like they can't possibly address each issue in their world. But also, every public official is a little paranoid about things, not really ever knowing what they should address that will snowball if they don't. So you gotta make a snowball. Or a better analogy is a shitstorm. You get enough shit flinging around, and eventually someone will get tired of it hitting their face and do something.

    You write and call all media in the area, ESPECIALLY those who you don't really think can or will do anything. You do the same to ALL law enforcement. Especially those who aren't directly involved. You never know who owes who a dirty deed! You may get help from unexpected places. Beginning to see why you stay anonymous? Shotgun approach. Do the same to all judges, courts, anyone and everyone in the legal system. EVERYONE.

    Remember,it's a shitstorm. Don't get hit with your own...

    You leave notes in the mailboxes and on the gates of the people closing the roads. Keep copies of who and what you write, update the dates every 2-3 months, and shotgun it all again. Be prepared for several years of attack. It's easy once you do the initial legwork to find the addresses and contact info.

    Continue to try and think of ANYONE who may be affected by the closed roads, and send them info, ask for help.

    Be patient. Prepare to wait a year or so. No results? Go higher with the officials. Start with the Governor, and work your way down, or if you like your state representative, start there if you want to give them a chance first, out of courtesy.

    Contnue to stay anonymous. Repeat the letters every 2-3 months so they ALL know you ain't quitting! If no results, lie, and say someone anonymously contacted you about this issue, try to get others who may be affected by the illegal road closure to help. You can continue to use the anonymous route, and you have now quietly doubled your efforts. There is you, the friendly concerned citizen quitely and politely addressing the issue like a good citizen, and somewhere out there is that other a-hole throwing defecation into every circular rotating device. Good cop-bad cop, and YOU get to have ALL of the fun!

    If there are any federal officials, use them. Ask law enforcement and all other legal officials why it is that the people closing the roads feel that need? What are they trying to hide behind those illegally closed gates? Drugs? Prostitution? Survivalists with a cache of bombs and illegal guns? (In Ar. or Tx, this one may not work, they may get a friendly pat on the back. We kinda like anarchists, as long as they are good ol boys. Cali-Pornia-Fornication, the communist state of California, they'll bite)!

    NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, EVER, ADMIT TO ANYONE THAT YOU WERE THE ANONYMOUS FUNLOVING GOOD AND BAD COP! People have long memories when they think they have been wronged or used. Even if you know you had good reason for what you did and did right. It's much more fun to take credit for all the havoc you raised, but just remember how mean and nasty you were? THEY might just be as tenacious and nasty, or even worse. "Loose Lips Sink Ships". And also give Adv. bikers flat tires. Or sugar in your gas tank.