43 CFR 2650.4-7 - Public easements.
(a) General requirements.
(1) Only public easements which are reasonably necessary to guarantee access to publicly owned lands or major waterways and the other public uses which are contained in these regulations, or to guarantee international treaty obligations shall be reserved.
(2) In identifying appropriate public easements assessment shall be made in writing of the use and purpose to be accommodated.
(3) The primary standard for determining which public easements are reasonably necessary for access shall be present existing use. However, a public easement may be reserved absent a demonstration of present existing use only if it is necessary to guarantee international treaty obligations, if there is no reasonable alternative route or site available, or if the public easement is for access to an isolated tract or area of publicly owned land. When adverse impacts on Native culture, lifestyle, and subsistence needs are likely to occur because of the reservation of a public easement, alternative routes shall be assessed and reserved where reasonably available. The natural environment and other relevant factors shall also be considered.
(4) All public easements which are reserved shall be specific as to use, location, and size. Standard sizes and uses which are delineated in this subsection may be varied only when justified by special circumstances.
(5) Transportation, communication, and utility easements shall be combined where the combination of such easements is reasonable considering the primary purposes for which easement is to be reserved.
(6) Public easements may be reserved to provide access to present existing Federal, State, or municipal corporation sites; these sites themselves shall not be reserved as public easements. Unless otherwise justified, access to these sites shall be limited to government use.
(7) Scenic easements or easements for recreation on lands conveyed pursuant to the Act shall not be reserved. Nor shall public easements be reserved to hunt or fish from or on lands conveyed pursuant to the Act.
(8) The identification of needed easements and major waterways shall include participation by appropriate Natives and Native corporations, LUPC, State, Federal agencies, and other members of the public.
(9) After reviewing the identified easements needs, the Director shall tentatively determine which easements shall be reserved. Tentative determinations of major waterways shall also be made by the Director and shall apply to rivers, streams, and lakes. All lakes over 640 acres in size shall be screened to determine if they qualify as major waterways. Those smaller than 640 acres may be considered on a case-by-case basis. The Director shall issue a notice of proposed easements which notifies all parties that participated in the development of the easement needs and information on major waterways as to the tentative easement reservations and which directs that all comments be sent to the LUPC and the Director.
(10) The State and the LUPC shall be afforded 90 days after notice by the Director to make recommendations with respect to the inclusion of public easements in any conveyance. If the Director does not receive a recommendation from the LUPC or the State within the time period herein called for, he may proceed with his determinations.
(11) Prior to making a determination of public easements to be reserved, the Director shall review the recommendations of the LUPC, appropriate Native corporation(s), other Federal agencies, the State, and the public. Consideration shall be given to recommendations for public easement reservations which are timely submitted to the Bureau of Land Management and accompanied by written justification.
(12) The Director, after such review, shall prepare a decision to convey that includes all necessary easements and other appropriate terms and conditions relating to conveyance of the land. If the decision prepared by the Director is contrary to the LUPC's recommendations, he shall notify the LUPC of the variance(s) and shall afford the LUPC 10 days in which to document the reasons for its disagreement before making his final decision. The Director shall then issue a Decision to Issue Conveyance (DIC).
(13) The Director shall terminate a public easement if it is not used for the purpose for which it was reserved by the date specified in the conveyance, if any, or by December 18, 2001, whichever occurs first, He may terminate an easement at any time if he finds that conditions are such that its retention is no longer needed for public use or governmental function. However, the Director shall not terminate an access easement to isolated tracts of publicly owned land solely because of the absence of proof of public use. Public easements which have been reserved to guarantee international treaty obligations shall not be terminated unless the Secretary determines that the reasons for such easements no longer justify the reservation. No public easement shall be terminated without proper notice and an opportunity for submission of written comments or for a hearing if a hearing is deemed to be necessary by either the Director or the Secretary.
(b) Transportation easements.
(1) Public easements for transportation purposes which are reasonably necessary to guarantee the public's ability to reach publicly owned lands or major waterways may be reserved across lands conveyed to Native corporations. Such purposes may also include transportation to and from communities, airports, docks, marine coastline, groups of private holdings sufficient in number to constitute a public use, and government reservations or installations. Public easements may also be reserved for railroads. If public easements are to be reserved, they shall:
(i) Be reserved across Native lands only if there is no reasonable alternative route of transportation across publicly owned lands;
(ii) Within the standard of reasonable necessity, be limited in number and not duplicative of one another (nonduplication does not preclude separate easements for winter and summer trails, if otherwise justified);
(iii) Be subject only to specific uses and sizes which shall be placed in the appropriate interim conveyance and patent documents;
(iv) Follow existing routes of travel unless a variance is otherwise justified;
(v) Be reserved for future roads, including railroads and roads for future logging operations, only if they are site specific and actually planned for construction within 5 years of the date of conveyance;
(vi) Be reserved in topographically suitable locations whenever the location is not otherwise determined by an existing route of travel or when there is no existing site;
(vii) Be reserved along the marine coastline only to preserve a primary route of travel between coastal communities, publicly owned uplands, or coastal communities and publicly owned uplands;
(viii) Be reserved from publicly owned uplands to the marine coastline only if significant present existing use has occurred on those publicly owned lands below the line of mean high tide. However, for isolated tracts of publicly owned uplands, public easements may be reserved to provide transportation from the marine coastline if there is no other reasonable transportation route;
(ix) Be reserved along major waterways only to provide short portages or transportation routes around obstructions. However, this condition does not preclude the reservation of a trail or road easement which happens to run alongside a waterway;
(x) Not be reserved on the beds of major waterways except where use of the bed is related to road or trail purposes, portaging, or changing the mode of travel between water and land (e.g., launching or landing a boat); a specific portion of the bed or shore of the waterway which is necessary to provide portage or transportation routes around obstructions, including those that are dangerous or impassible or seasonably dangerous or impassible, may be reserved.
(xi) Not be reserved on the beds of nonmajor waterways except where use of the beds is related to road or trail purposes. However, this exception shall not be used to reserve a continuous linear easement on the streambed to facilitate access by boat.
(xii) Not be reserved simply to reflect patterns of Native use on Native lands;
(xiii) Not be reserved for the purpose of protecting Native stockholders from their respective corporations;
(xiv) Not be reserved on the basis of subsistence use of the lands of one village by residents of another village.
(2) Transportation easements shall be limited to roads and sites which are related to access. The use of these easements shall be controlled by applicable Federal, State, or municipal corporation laws or regulations. The uses stated herein will be specified in the interim conveyance and patent documents as permitted uses of the easement.
(i) The width of a trail easement shall be no more than 25 feet if the uses to be accommodated are for travel by foot, dogsleds, animals, snowmobiles, two and three-wheel vehicles, and small all-terrain vehicles (less than 3,000 lbs. G.V.W.);
(ii) The width of a trail easement shall be no more than 50 feet if the uses to be accommodated are for travel by large all-terrain vehicles (more than 3,000 lbs. G.V.W.), track vehicles and 4-wheel drive vehicles, in addition to the uses included under paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section;
(iii) The width of an existing road easement shall be no more than 60 feet if the uses to be accommodated are for travel by automobiles or trucks in addition to the uses included under paragraphs (b)(2) (i) and (ii) of this section. However, if an existing road is wider than 60 feet, the specific public easement may encompass that wider width. For proposed roads, including U.S. Forest Service logging roads, the width of the public easement shall be 100 feet, unless otherwise justified. Prior to construction, trail uses which are included under paragraphs (b)(2) (i) and (ii) of this section may be permitted if otherwise justified and may continue if the road is not built. If after the road has been constructed a lesser width is sufficient to accommodate the road, the Director shall reduce the size of the easement to that width.
(iv) The width of a proposed railroad easement shall be 100 feet on either side of the center line of any such railroad.
(3) Site easements. Site easements which are related to transportation may be reserved for aircraft landing or vehicle parking (e.g., aircraft, boats, ATV's, cars, trucks), temporary camping, loading or unloading at a trail head, along an access route or waterway, or within a reasonable distance of a transportation route or waterway where there is a demonstrated need to provide for transportation to publicly owned lands or major waterways. Temporary camping, loading, or unloading shall be limited to 24 hours. Site easements shall not be reserved for recreational use such as fishing, unlimited camping, or other purposes not associated with use of the public easement for transportation. Site easements shall not be reserved for future logging or similar operations (e.g., log dumps, campsites, storage or staging areas). Before site easements are reserved on transportation routes or on major waterways, a reasonable effort shall be made to locate parking, camping, beaching, or aircraft landing sites on publicly owned lands; particularly, publicly owned lands in or around communities, or bordering the waterways. If a site easement is to be reserved, it shall:
(i) Be subject to the provisions of paragraphs (b)(1) (ii), (iii), (vi), (xii), (xiii), and (xiv) of this section.
(ii) Be no larger than one acre in size and located on existing sites unless a variance is in either instance, otherwise justified;
(iii) Be reserved on the marine coastline only at periodic points along the coast where they are determined to be reasonably necessary to facilitate transportation on coastal waters or transportation between coastal waters and publicly owned uplands;
(iv) Be reserved only at periodic points on major waterways. Uses shall be limited to those activities which are related to travel on the waterway or to travel between the waterway and publicly owned lands. Also, periodic site easements shall be those necessary to allow a reasonable pattern of travel on the waterway;
(v) Be reserved for aircraft landing strips only if they have present significant use and are a necessary part of a transportation system for access to publicly owned lands and are not suitable for reservation under section 14(c)(4) of the Act. Any such easement shall encompass only that area which is used for takeoffs and landings and any clear space around such site that is needed for parking or public safety.
(c) Miscellaneous easements. The public easements referred to in this subsection which do not fall into the categories above may be reserved in order to continue certain uses of publicly owned lands and major waterways. These public easements shall be limited in number. The identification and size of these public easements may vary from place to place depending upon particular circumstances. When not controlled by applicable law or regulation, size shall not exceed that which is reasonably necessary for the purposes of the identified easement. Miscellaneous easements may be reserved for the following purposes:
(1) Public easements which are for utility purposes (e.g., water, electricity, communications, oil, gas, and sewage) may be reserved and shall be based upon present existing use. Future easements for these purposes may also be reserved, but only if they are site specific and actually planned for construction within 5 years of the date of conveyance;
(2) Easements for air light or visibility purposes may be reserved if required to insure public safety or to permit proper use of improvements developed for public benefit or use; e.g., protection for aviation or navigation aids or communications sites;
(3) Public easements may be reserved to guarantee international treaty obligations or to implement any agreement entered into between the United States and the Native Corporation receiving the conveyance. For example, the agreement of May 14, 1974, related to Naval Petroleum Reserve Number Four (redesignated June 1, 1977, as the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska) between the United States Department of the Navy and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and four Native village corporations, shall be incorporated in the appropriate conveyances and the easements necessary to implement the agreement shall be reserved.
(d) Conveyance provisions.
(1) Public easement provisions shall be placed in interim conveyances and patents.
(2) Permissible uses of a specific easement shall be listed in the appropriate conveyance document. The conveyance documents shall include a general provision which states that uses which are not specifically listed are prohibited.
(3) The easements shall be identified on appropriate maps which shall be part of the pertinent interim conveyance and patent.
(4) All public easement shall be reserved to the United States and subject, as appropriate, to further Federal, State, or municipal corporation regulation.
(5) All conveyance documents shall contain a general provision which states that pursuant to section 17(b)(2) of the Act, any valid existing right recognized by the Act shall continue to have whatever right of access as is now provided for under existing law.