Obtaining a Right-of-Way on Public Lands
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Each year, thousands of individuals and companies apply to the BLM to obtain a right-of-way (ROW) on public lands.  A ROW grant is an authorization to use a specific piece of land for a certain purpose or project, for a specific period of time.

Careful advance planning and coordination with BLM staff can help avert problems and unnecessary, costly delays.  BLM realty specialists handle ROW cases under customer service standards written into program regulations to ensure that ROW applications are processed expeditiously while also protecting the resource values found on the public lands.

Do you need a ROW?

As a general rule, you do not need a ROW for casual use.  
Activities that do not cause any appreciable disturbance or damage to the public land or resources or existing improvements on that land are considered casual use.

You do need a ROW whenever you wish to build a project on public land.
Some examples of land uses which require a ROW grant include electric transmission lines, communications sites (towers and related facilities), new roads and highways, trails, telephone/fiber optic lines, canals, flumes, pipelines, and reservoirs.

Contact the BLM and discuss your plans before assuming your use is casual.  The BLM makes the judgment on the requirements in your particular case.

Last updated: 01-22-2014