Update on the Barstow/BLM road closure issue. We have not had our final conference with the BLM.
We pushed the call to tomorrow so we can review some final legal documents. We have all of the management plans, the lawsuit filed by, you guessed it…Center for Biological Diversity which started this whole road and land closure of your public lands as well as a litany of other documents, cases and legal decisions on this very topic. It is not a question of “if” we are right, the only question seems to be why does the BLM not recognize the rights of a US citizen and property owner. Perhaps that is why the BLM man who put up the closure signs told me “United States Supreme Court decisions to not apply to us in the BLM”. Oh really? We’ll see about that.
In all fairness, the person we are dealing with at the BLM currently on this issue has been fair, professional, but wrong.
We are right, they are wrong period. Mining claim owners have a fundamental right of access unlike those who “recreate” on public lands. They own real property and yesterday I gave them an analogy: Imagine you own a home on main street in downtown Barstow. BLM puts up road closed signs just on the edge of town and says you have to walk 2 miles to your house, you cannot drive and must carry everything by hand. That is precisely what we are talking about.
You have a right of access to your property. People pay property taxes on their claims in many states, especially tax hungry California. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stated in the Shumway case that an un-patented “title of a locator” is “property in the fullest sense of the word”. Miners are not guests on their claims as our buddy Kerby Jackson loves to quote. They are not recreational users of the land. They are stake holders and as such, the Federal Government cannot legally block you from your claim. They must grant access, or provide reasonable access. Making a 77 year old man carry a 100lb pack of mining equipment, have him walk 2 miles in the Mojave desert is not reasonable, nor is it legal. This is also in direct violation of the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act.
Without giving too much away here, and there is much, much more we will explain to the BLM, here is a little of what IS going to happen at 9am Saturday. We are going to have many people present who are not miners, and many, many who are. The Sheriff’s department, the media (Free Press) a camera crew, and perhaps even an elected politician or three. We will be accessing the roads and if they want to cross the line and expose themselves to some severe liabilities, they can cite me. Me, not you, me. Let us take this on on your behalf. We will take the case through the court system(s) and without the slightest doubt, will win this case. It has already been litigated and decided. We are essentially giving them one last chance to recognize existing law and the rights of the miners. We hope they just remove the signs.
I’ve said enough, more tomorrow……………..
Come to Slash X just south of Barstow this weekend and support the small mining community and their fundamental right to mine their claims.
By the way, everyone say Hi to the BLM as they are reading this post at the same time you are. Most of them follow us on FB.