Corner Crossing: Legal or Not?
By Todd Helms
“Our solicitors think it’s pretty clear,” said Tracy Stone-Manning, director of the BLM. . . “We’re taking that ruling quite seriously and making sure that our state directors are implementing it.”
Well, that seems pretty cut and dry but as with all things tied to Government the real world application and legality are as clear as mud. Manning’s directive has been met locally with some balking as the footing on “corner-crossing” remains tenuous at best.
“Until we get a declaration from the 10th Circuit yay or nay, we’re still going to do a little bit of head scratching,” Semerad said. “We don’t have a definitive answer. We’re waiting to hear if it holds up.” That from Ryan Semerad, the Capser, Wyoming attorney who represented the Missouri hunters central to this case.
While the men have been cleared of criminal charges, there remained much to be seen regarding their civil culpability, as landowner Eshelman is claiming the men owe him damages to the tune of around $7.5 million, however, as of this morning “a possible jurisdictional defect” has stalled and will possibly prevent Eshelman from contesting his loss in a civil suit.
Confused? Yeah, me too.
The possible defect has resulted in “briefing on the merits” of this civil case being suspended. In other words, it’s dead in the water at the moment. So that brings us back to BLM Director Stone-Manning’s directive and just how quick a change like this can and will take place.
“If this holds up under appeal and becomes the law of the land, there has to be time so we can work with private landowners,” said Brad Purdy, the state office’s deputy state director for communications. “This will be a change.”
Purdy urged public land users to exercise great caution if they’re thinking about corner crossing. He said he wouldn’t personally do it at this time.”
So, is corner-crossing legal now? You won’t see this guy attempting it anytime soon but that’s just me, as I’ve grown fond of an old Shakespeare quote, “The better part of valor is discretion”.