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Walton County v. Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc.

ELR Citation: 38 ELR 20254
Nos. No. 06-1447, (Fla., 09/29/2008)

The Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court's entry of summary judgment in favor of the U.S. government dismissing a property owner's claim that he is entitled to an easement to access his property located within Glacier National Park. The National Park Service (NPS) allowed inholders some degree of motorized access over Glacier Route 7 during winter months until 1999, when it announced that it would no longer allow inholders motorized access to the road once it was closed to the general public. After the property owner was denied a special use permit allowing access to the road, he filed suit seeking to quiet title to an easement. The property owner, however, enjoys sufficient access to his property to defeat a finding of easement by necessity. Nor does he hold an express easement since his predecessor's access was not protected by an easement or other guarantee. And the doctrine of easement implied by prior use is not appropriate where, as here, title was taken by way of a public grant under the Homestead Act. The property owner also argued that the denial of his application for a special use permit violated the Administrative Procedure Act. But the NPS did not act arbitrarily, capriciously, or in violation of law when it denied the permit request. The NPS adequately explained its determination that concerns for wildlife and recreation justified closing Glacier Route 7 to motorized vehicles during the winter season.