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Rails to Trails - National

New information added on November 25, 2019

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News Brief
February 2001:
"Montgomery, Pennsylvania, Plans to Condemn Property for a Trail after it Loses Lawsuit Against Owners"

 See Also
See Also

Canalway Trails and Canals

Trails - New York

Heritage Rivers and Areas - National

Scenic Byways and All-American Roads - National

Scenic Byways and All-American Roads - New York

Additional Helpful Organizations
Additional Helpful

National Association of Reversionary Property Owners, Richard Welsh, Executive Director
(The preeminent national organization defending owners of land through which a railroad right-of-way passes)

Additional Resources
Additional Resources

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-Depth Information

  • William Perry Pendley"The New Wars for the West" - Keynote Address by William Perry Pendley, Esq., President and Chief Legal Officer, Mountain States Legal Foundation, Lakewood, Colorado; Eleventh Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 13, 2007)
    Perry Pendley successfully defended John Shuller against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when, in self-defense, he shot a grizzly bear. He won the case for Larry Squires, who wanted to allow disposal of oil field brine in dry sink holes on his property. Mountain States Legal Foundation is fighting for inholder access to their property blocked by the U.S. Forest Service. Pendley has argued successfully three times before the U.S. Supreme Court on the right of contract regardless of race or ethnicity, against what is called "affirmative action."
  • Linda Rowley"Corruption 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.
  • "Property 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.
  • "Our 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.
  • "Federal 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 Katy Trail.
  • John McClaughry"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."
  • "Perkiomen 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.
  • Richard Welsh"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 (PRFA, 1998)

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