It appears that the Elk Mountain, Wyoming corner-hopping case has taken yet another turn as it heads toward the April 14th court date. The owner of the Elk Mountain Ranch has now filed a civil suit which potentially comes with a fresh criminal charge. The new civil suit declares that the four Pennsylvania bowhunters “committed a civil trespass” and that Iron Bar Holdings, the company that owns the sprawling Elk Mountain Ranch, is pursuing reimbursement “to the fullest extent of the law.”
The plot twist in this case stems from the claim of private ownership of “airspace” above private property. The current interpretation of the law is ambiguous and with burgeoning recreational use demands across the West the decision of the court in April could very well be a watershed moment in the private property rights vs. public access debate.
What hangs in the balance of this entire case is the possibility that over 1.5 million acres of landlocked public property could either be “opened-up” or “closed-off”. While our collective attention has been diverted to the events in eastern-Europe at this moment, the corner-hopping case in Wyoming stands poised to change the face of public access forever. We here at Eastmans’ will do our best to keep you posted, er, um, informed.