Washington Law Review


Nineteenth Century federal land grants created a legacy of private lands surrounded by federal land in the American West. Owners of such lands (inholders) were routinely granted access across federal land by implicit common law rights until the 1960s when federal land policy became more restrictive. In 1981, the Ninth Circuit held that the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) provided a statutory entitlement for inholder access. Since then, the Ninth Circuit also has held that ANILCA preempts any common law access rights. This Comment argues that the common law doctrine of easements by necessity remains a threshold basis for inholder access, and that ANILCA must be carefully construed to protect the property rights of inholders.

First Page