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Catch up on breaking news and quick updates from around the state.

Corner crossing case back in court

The intermingling parcels on Elk Mountain. Highlighted regions are federal, state parcels are marked and blank spots are private.
Screenshot courtesy of OnX Backcountry
The intermingling parcels on Elk Mountain. Highlighted regions are federal, state parcels are marked and blank spots are private.

This story is part of our Quick Hits series. This series will bring you breaking news and short updates from throughout the state.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear a case on May 14 out of Wyoming that could clarify whether corner crossing is legal or a form of trespass.

Corner crossing is a practice of stepping from one parcel of public land to another over a common corner shared with private property.

The case looks at an incident in 2021 near Elk Mountain, when a group of hunters from Missouri used a ladder footed in two public tracts to climb over the adjacent property’s fence posts to access Bureau of Land Management land.

The landowner argued this violated his private airspace and sued them, unsuccessfully so far. The Tenth Circuit Court is scheduled to hold a hearing on his appeal at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Byron White Courthouse in Denver.

Separately, a jury found the hunters not guilty of criminal trespass in 2022.

The case has implications for access to roughly eight million acres of public land in the West that are otherwise “corner locked,” according to the mapping app On X.

Nicky has reported and edited for public radio stations in Montana and produced episodes for NPR's The Indicator podcast and Apple News In Conversation. Her award-winning series, SubSurface, dug into the economic, environmental and social impacts of a potential invasion of freshwater mussels in Montana's waterbodies. She traded New Hampshire's relatively short but rugged White Mountains for the Rockies over a decade ago. The skiing here is much better.
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