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  1. There seems to be a lot of misinformation and confusion regarding public BLM land, mining claims, and public access to BLM Land on YouTube. I have to answer the same questions over and over again, and I thought it would be a great time to educate the public on public land. I will just link them here to this thread when they say something silly about public BLM land. Feel free to jump right into the conversation. I will attach different documents to this thread, and if you have any more to attach, please do so. The most common misconception I see on YouTube regarding BLM and Mining Claims is that owning a mining claim (unpatented), makes it private land. Here was a comment from this morning: 001DesertRat As many here already know, owning a mining claim and paying the small annual fee does not grant one exclusive access to the land. Here is a quote from the attached BLM document, that you can also find here: The surface of an unpatented mining claim is NOT your private property, the ownership remains with the United States. The BLM or Forest Service has the right to manage the surface and surface resources on an unpatented mining claim. This includes recreational public use of the area and public access across lands covered by the unpatented mining claim. To put it another way: A mining claim on public lands is a "possessory interest." This means that a mining claimant has a limited right to the location for mining or milling purposes only. No deed accompanies this right. It does not grant exclusive right to "vacation" or "fish" on the land to the claim holder. If the surface use is not otherwise encumbered, anyone may enter upon public lands for recreational purposes. Mineral claims are not a homesteading program. The federal government requires an initial payment to file a mining claim, followed by a annual maintenance fee. In addition, each of the individual states or counties may have their own recording schedules and fee requirements that a prospective claim-holder would need to research. Source The next misconception is that a mining claim owner can keep people off their land. Again, according to the BLM: Can I keep the public off my claim? The public has the conditional right to cross mining claims or sites for recreational and other purposes and to access Federal lands beyond the claim boundaries BLM Mission Statement: BLM Mission Statement It is the mission of the Bureau of Land Management to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Patented mining claims are no longer public land. Once they are patented, they become 100% private land. They do not show up as being owned by the BLM. Since October 1, 1994, Congress has imposed a moratorium on BLM accepting any new mineral patent applications. Source Public Use Cabins BLM manages several public use cabins throughout Alaska. Few are located near roads, and most are accessible only during the winter. Some cabins are available on a "first-come, first-served" basis, while others need to be reserved in advance. Most cabins are rustic with primitive amenities, such as wood stoves for heating, propane cookstoves and lanterns, and pit outhouses. Users need to be prepared to "rough it." There are 4 shelter cabins along the Iditarod National Historic Trail and 12 public use cabins in the White Mountains National Recreation Area. There are also free first-come first-serve trail shelters along the Pinnell Mountain National Recreation Trail. Contact the Anchorage Field Office or the Fairbanks District Office for more details on Public Use Cabins. Source Steven's Camp - Stevens Camp is a popular camping area located at the North end of High Rock Canyon. It is a convenient and accessible camping area that provides a good base camp for exploration of High Rock Canyon and the surrounding uplands - rich in game and not many people. There are four established camping areas at Stevens Camp, including a large site near the free use cabin. The cabin site(s) includes amenities such as a vault toilet, picnic tables, fire pits and a grill. The cabin itself is available for public use on a first-come first-served basis and includes amenities such as running water (must be treated prior to drinking), a wood stove, a shower and hot water heater, and connections for generator to provide power and lights to the cabin. There is a 14 day maximum stay limit. The cabin is full most of the summer, so don’t expect to be the only person looking to use the facilities. This old home has an interesting history. From what I remember reading in Nevada Magazine, this old home was once owned by a country music star, although I cannot remember his name. I found another source that says something else about the history, so who knows who is right, but plenty of photos here: http://www.rimworld.com/brx/stevenscamp/index.html Source Massacre Ranch - Located along the historic Applegate Trail in northwestern Nevada, Massacre Ranch is a primitive cabin that is open to recreation use on a first come first serve basis. The cabin has a wood stove, lights and electrical outlets (generator required), a table, and an outside fire pit. Water may not be available on site and all water should be treated prior to use. There is a 14 day maximum stay limit. Massacre Ranch sits at over 6,000 feet above sea level and can be a comfortable location in the heat of the summer. Source And just to add another to the short list, http://www.boxcarcabin.com/. In regards to BLM leased land: Most public lands administered by BLM are open year round to public use. The public can use these lands for recreation unless the lands have been officially closed to fire danger or other emergency hazard. Public roads, thoroughfares or waterways may be used to gain access to public lands. The public cannot cross private lands to reach public land if no public thoroughfare exists. The landowners permission must be obtained before crossing private lands to reach public lands. Leasing does not alter or restrict authorized public use; therefore, lessees cannot maintain locked gates, signs, or other devices on public lands. Some lessees participate in a formal program in which BLM lands can be closed to public use IF a corresponding amount of private land is made available to the public. Such lands must be clearly posted with open and closed signs. Any questions should be referred to the appropriate field office. Source Another comment I get so often is, "Just because it's on BLM doesn't mean it's not a patent land" or something to that affect. Correct me if I am wrong, but land that has been patented is no longer public and is private land. I have checked this with the BLM GloreRecords and county assessor records. Every time I find a patent listed in the BLM records, and I cross reference it with the county records, it always shows up as private land in the county records. Therefore, this should be a non issue if you are using county records to research a piece of real property. Backcountry Navigator and MyLandMatters does a good job,but it's not perfect. I think the county records are the most reliable source of information on this. Am I missing anything?
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