Green River Star -

Our View: A possible solution to a land dispute

 


We think there’s a fairly easy solution to the problem developing between some residents and the Rock Springs Grazing Association.

A camper came in last week and expressed concern about suddenly seeing a no trespass sign posted at a camp site he has used for decades. We’ve attempted to contact the RSGA about this but kept reaching an answering machine. We’ll continue our attempts at reaching out to them.

We realize the land in question is owned by the RSGA and they have every right to close off sections of land under their ownership and remove people from that land. The RSGA has faced a number of problems through the years with squatters living on their land and making a mess of the places they stay at. For area residents, places owned by the RSGA also happen to be camping spots they’ve utilized for decades and the push to warn campers about trespassing on RSGA land seems like the thermonuclear option in dealing with a problem.

Another solution that would be better for everyone involved, would be if the RSGA issued permits to use their land. The permits would allow the grazing association an opportunity to make money off of their land and dictate who can use it. If there’s a fear about liability if someone using RSGA land is injured, they could create a simple waiver for anyone seeking a camping permit. Those who fail to cleanup their sites could be blacklisted from future use of grazing association land and reported to the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office for littering. Reporting litterers can still net someone a $750 reward from the county, which would be a lot of profit for the RSGA.

We admit this would create more work for the grazing association, but it would allow for multiple uses of their land. The RSGA owns roughly 8 percent of the land in Sweetwater County. That amounts to about 839 square miles of land. Some of that land is located in areas away from the high desert and sagebrush so prevalent throughout the county; places which also make great camping spots.

We do understand the RSGA’s concerns regarding abuse of their land and recognize their right to completely close off use. However, we believe most residents using the land aren’t the type who willingly deface places they’ve camped at for generations. This is why we believe a permitting process for certain areas could be beneficial to both campers and the RSGA. It would allow the RSGA a higher amount of control over regarding access to their land while potentially providing the association with some profit from permit fees.

While some may grumble about paying the RSGA a fee to use their land, it is a much better option than being completely barred from using it.

 

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