16 U.S. Code § 1248 - Easements and rights-of-way
(a) Authorization; conditions
The Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture as the case may be, may grant easements and rights-of-way upon, over, under, across, or along any component of the national trails system in accordance with the laws applicable to the national park system and the national forest system, respectively: Provided, That any conditions contained in such easements and rights-of-way shall be related to the policy and purposes of this chapter.
(b) Cooperation of Federal agencies with Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture
The Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation, the Surface Transportation Board, the Federal Communications Commission, the Secretary of Energy, and other Federal agencies having jurisdiction or control over or information concerning the use, abandonment, or disposition of roadways, utility rights-of-way, or other properties which may be suitable for the purpose of improving or expanding the national trails system shall cooperate with the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture in order to assure, to the extent practicable, that any such properties having values suitable for trail purposes may be made available for such use.
(c) Abandoned railroad grants; retention of rights
Commencing October 4, 1988, any and all right, title, interest, and estate of the United States in all rights-of-way of the type described in section 912 of title 43, shall remain in the United States upon the abandonment or forfeiture of such rights-of-way, or portions thereof, except to the extent that any such right-of-way, or portion thereof, is embraced within a public highway no later than one year after a determination of abandonment or forfeiture, as provided under such section.
(d) Location, incorporation, and management
(1)All rights-of-way, or portions thereof, retained by the United States pursuant to subsection (c) of this section which are located within the boundaries of a conservation system unit or a National Forest shall be added to and incorporated within such unit or National Forest and managed in accordance with applicable provisions of law, including this chapter.
(2)All such retained rights-of-way, or portions thereof, which are located outside the boundaries of a conservation system unit or a National Forest but adjacent to or contiguous with any portion of the public lands shall be managed pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 [43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.] and other applicable law, including this section.
(3)All such retained rights-of-way, or portions thereof, which are located outside the boundaries of a conservation system unit or National Forest which the Secretary of the Interior determines suitable for use as a public recreational trail or other recreational purposes shall be managed by the Secretary for such uses, as well as for such other uses as the Secretary determines to be appropriate pursuant to applicable laws, as long as such uses do not preclude trail use.
(e) Release and quitclaim; conditions; sale; proceeds
(1)The Secretary of the Interior is authorized where appropriate to release and quitclaim to a unit of government or to another entity meeting the requirements of this subsection any and all right, title, and interest in the surface estate of any portion of any right-of-way to the extent any such right, title, and interest was retained by the United States pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, if such portion is not located within the boundaries of any conservation system unit or National Forest. Such release and quitclaim shall be made only in response to an application therefor by a unit of State or local government or another entity which the Secretary of the Interior determines to be legally and financially qualified to manage the relevant portion for public recreational purposes. Upon receipt of such an application, the Secretary shall publish a notice concerning such application in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where the relevant portion is located. Such release and quitclaim shall be on the following conditions:
(A)If such unit or entity attempts to sell, convey, or otherwise transfer such right, title, or interest or attempts to permit the use of any part of such portion for any purpose incompatible with its use for public recreation, then any and all right, title, and interest released and quitclaimed by the Secretary pursuant to this subsection shall revert to the United States.
(B)Such unit or entity shall assume full responsibility and hold the United States harmless for any legal liability which might arise with respect to the transfer, possession, use, release, or quitclaim of such right-of-way.
(C)Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the United States shall be under no duty to inspect such portion prior to such release and quitclaim, and shall incur no legal liability with respect to any hazard or any unsafe condition existing on such portion at the time of such release and quitclaim.
(2)The Secretary is authorized to sell any portion of a right-of-way retained by the United States pursuant to subsection (c) of this section located outside the boundaries of a conservation system unit or National Forest if any such portion is—
(B)determined by the Secretary, pursuant to the disposal criteria established by section 203 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 [43 U.S.C. 1713], to be suitable for sale.
Prior to conducting any such sale, the Secretary shall take appropriate steps to afford a unit of State or local government or any other entity an opportunity to seek to obtain such portion pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection.
(3)All proceeds from sales of such retained rights of way shall be deposited into the Treasury of the United States and credited to the Land and Water Conservation Fund as provided in section 460l–5 of this title.
(f) “Conservation system unit” and “public lands” defined
As used in this section—
(1)The term “conservation system unit” has the same meaning given such term in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (Public Law 96–487; 94 Stat. 2371 et seq.), except that such term shall also include units outside Alaska.
Source(Pub. L. 90–543, § 9,Oct. 2, 1968, 82 Stat. 925; Pub. L. 95–91, title III, § 301(b),Aug. 4, 1977, 91 Stat. 578; Pub. L. 100–470, § 3,Oct. 4, 1988, 102 Stat. 2281; Pub. L. 104–88, title III, § 317(2),Dec. 29, 1995, 109 Stat. 949.)
References in Text
The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, referred to in subsecs. (d)(2) and (f)(2), is Pub. L. 94–579, Oct. 21, 1976, 90 Stat. 2743, as amended, which is classified principally to chapter 35 (§ 1701 et seq.) of Title 43, Public Lands. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1701 of Title 43 and Tables.
The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, referred to in subsec. (f)(1), is Pub. L. 96–487, Dec. 2, 1980, 94 Stat. 2371, as amended. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 3101 of this title and Tables.
1995—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 104–88substituted “Surface Transportation Board” for “Interstate Commerce Commission”.
1988—Subsecs. (c) to (f). Pub. L. 100–470added subsecs. (c) to (f).
Effective Date of 1995 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 104–88effective Jan. 1, 1996, see section 2 ofPub. L. 104–88, set out as an Effective Date note under section 701 of Title 49, Transportation.
Transfer of Functions
Enforcement functions of Secretary or other official in Department of the Interior related to compliance with system activities requiring coordination and approval under this chapter and such functions of Secretary or other official in Department of Agriculture, insofar as they involve lands and programs under jurisdiction of that Department, related to compliance with this chapter with respect to pre-construction, construction, and initial operation of transportation system for Canadian and Alaskan natural gas transferred to Federal Inspector, Office of Federal Inspector for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System, until first anniversary of date of initial operation of Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System, see Reorg. Plan No. 1 of 1979, §§ 102(e), (f), 203 (a),44 F.R. 33663, 33666, 93 Stat. 1373, 1376, effective July 1, 1979, set out in the Appendix to Title 5, Government Organization and Employees. Office of Federal Inspector for the Alaska Natural Gas Transportation System abolished and functions and authority vested in Inspector transferred to Secretary of Energy by section 3012(b) ofPub. L. 102–486, set out as an Abolition of Office of Federal Inspector note under section 719e of Title 15, Commerce and Trade. Functions and authority vested in Secretary of Energy subsequently transferred to Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects by section 720d (f) of Title 15.
“Secretary of Energy” substituted for “Federal Power Commission” in subsec. (b) pursuant to Pub. L. 95–91, § 301(b), which is classified to section 7151 (b) of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare.
Federal Power Commission terminated and its functions, personnel, property, funds, etc., transferred to Secretary of Energy (except for certain functions which were transferred to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) by sections 7151 (b), 7171 (a), 7172 (a), 7291, and 7293 of Title 42.
Abandoned Railroad Grants; Congressional Findings
“(1) State and local governments have a special role to play under the National Trails System Act [16 U.S.C. 1241 et seq.] in acquiring and developing trails for recreation and conservation purposes.
“(2) Many miles of public land rights-of-way have been granted to the railroads by the United States, and much of this mileage could be suitable for trail use at such time as it may be abandoned.
“(3) The United States should retain any residual interest it may have in such public land rights-of-way and relinquish it, where appropriate, in favor of State and local governments or other nonprofit entities for trail purposes.”
“(a) Nothing in this Act [amending this section and section 1244 of this title and enacting provisions set out as notes under this section and section 1241 of this title] shall be construed as authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to use condemnation proceedings to retain or acquire all or any portion of a right-of-way described in this Act.