Pennsylvania, Plans to Condemn Property for a Trail after it
Loses Lawsuit Against Owners"
National Association of Reversionary
Property Owners, Richard Welsh, Executive Director
(The preeminent national
organization defending owners of land through which a railroad
Testimony of Nels Ackerson
Before the Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee
on Commercial and Administrative Law U.S. House of Representatives
June 20, 2002
The nation's leading attorney for property owners facing rails
to trails Takings testified about the
"extravagantly wasteful litigation" caused by the failure
of the federal government to set up a procedure
of compensation for landowners where land is expropriated under
rails to trails.
See the National Association of Reversionary Property Owners
web site: link
in Trail Funding" - Linda S. Rowley, Railroad Impact
Committee of the Hilltowns (RICH), Tenth Annual National Conference
on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 14, 2006)
While fighting a planned bike path through her barn in Haydenville,
Massachusetts, Linda Rowley discovered that federal transportation
enhancement funding that was exclusively for congestion mitigation
and air quality improvement (CMAQ) was being misapplied for purely
recreational purposes. She also won a ruling in the Massachusetts
Supreme Judicial Court that the railroad right-of-way was a road
or a way under the Derelict Fee Statute, making it ineligible
for federal trail funds because the property belonged to the
underlying owners after the railroad was no longer in use.
Rights, Trails, & Open Space Preservation" - By
Carol W. LaGrasse, Speech to the Comprehensive Planning Advisory
Committee, Town of Ballston, June 22, 2005
Private property rights were fundamental to the founders and
protected other rights, but a brief chronology shows that U.S.
Supreme Court rulings dealing with zoning and open space have
both eroded and protected these rights. Trails threaten private
property owners with liability and other problems, but reversionary
title is protected.
Inalienable Heritage" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, Welcome
Address, Seventh Annual N.Y. Conference on Private Property Rights
(PRFA, Oct. 18, 2003)
Taking a look at the ways our rights are being eroded and
setting history back on a path toward justice. Countervailing
the soft-sell, long-term approach of moneyed interests - conservation
easements, scenic byways, heritage areas, trails - the high-sounding
tools of landscape preservation.
Court Orders U.S. To Compensate Missouri Landowners"
- By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, January 2003)
Federal court rules that according to Missouri law, the land
underlying an abandoned railroad in Missouri reverted to the
property owners. The government has to pay the first thirteen
underlyling owners $410,000, with more to follow along the 225-mile
- "One Vermonter's
21-year Court Odyssey"-by John McClaughry (Ethan Allen
Institute, July 2001)
"The Preseault case illustrates how government lawyers
will employ every trick in the legal book to get something for
nothing at the expense of a private citizen."
Trail Poses a Threat to Private Property Owners"-by
Carol W. LaGrasse, The Mercury, Pottstown, Pennsylvania,
June 10, 2001
After losing a court battle where it claimed to have acquired
title to an old railroad right-of way, Montgomery County, which
is northwest of Philadelphia, has begun condemning the property
for a trail. The course of the trail, which is named after the
nearby Perkiomen Creek, follows the old rail bed as well as some
of extensive parkland along the creek. This Opinion piece explains
that Perkiomen Trail poses a threat to private property owners
in two important respects: the construction of the trail route
itself and the broader long-term acquisition plans to gobble
up the private land along the creek and join the waterfront to
the rail bed in a greenway.
- Perkiomen Trail maps
- May 2001
This series of maps obtained from the Montgomery County Department
of Parks, depicts the currently planned route of Perkiomen Trail.
- "The Rails-to-Trails
Movement" - Richard Welsh, Executive Director,
National Association of Reversionary Property Owners, from Proceedings
of the Third Annual New York Conference on Private Property Rights