National Group Joins Wyoming’s Corner Crossing Cases
Wyoming's corner crossing cases might be getting some national help. That might be because Wyoming is not the only state with a corner crossing issue.
A North American nonprofit that claims 350,000 members and supporters wants to join a civil suit on the side of four hunters accused of trespassing by corner crossing at Elk Mountain Ranch in Carbon County. (WyoFile).
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers have filed to join the civil suit brought by the ranch owner against four Missouri men who were corner crossing as hunters in 2020 and 2021. The case is before Wyoming’s U.S. District Court.
The case was settled and the men were found not guilty of trespassing. It has not moved on to a civil suit.
“BHA and its members have a strong interest in seeing the issues surrounding ‘corner crossing’ resolved under federal law to clarify nationally the legality of moving across federal public lands that intersect private lands at a corner,” BHA attorney Eric Hanson wrote in his request to join the civil case.
Up until now, BHA was working behind the scenes. They had raised $71,460 through a GoFundMe campaign to support the hunters.
BHA has chapters in 48 states plus three in Canada.
“We’re a larger organization,” Land Tawney, president and CEO of BHA said Wednesday. “This is a priority. We’re going to make sure we carry this case through to the end.”
Corner crossing is the act of trying to cross from government land to government land through the western checkboard pattern of public and private land. The object is to stay on government land and stay off private. It's tricky.
BHA’s brief argues that the case should remain in federal court.
But Eshelman wants the case returned to the Wyoming court under Wyoming law.
This becomes an interesting issue as both the state and federal governments, as well as private landowners, have a stake in what is in dispute here.