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Bross Solution: New Summit?

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports

Good Idea (see first post, below)?

Yes
115
85%
No
21
15%
 
Total votes : 136

Re: Bross Solution: New Summit?

Postby Chicago Transplant » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:15 am

BillMiddlebrook wrote:
Scott P wrote:I am curious as to which landowner(s) are causing issues? :?:

Well, none really. When the USFS had all the problems with the big landowner on Lincoln, they made a blanket closure. I could be wrong but I don't believe any other owners complained, at least on Bross. As part of the re-opening of the loop trail, the USFS announced that the summit of Bross was closed because permission has not been granted by all of the landowners, and there are many right on the summit. So, agencies like the CFI, MRHI and CMC have to go with the "official" line from the USFS and they have done so. These organizations have also taken on the task to try and track down the owners to obtain permission, but I don't believe much progress has been made on the issue.

I still think it was only one land owner that started all of this and the USFS simply decided to say all private land is closed and only the loop trail can be used to obtain these summit, with the exception of Bross. We really don't know if the owners of parcels on, say, the east side of Bross really care if hikers go up from Mineral Creek. Who knows? But I do know that tracking down owners is probably very difficult. Many years went by with hikers climbing these peaks and using the trails through private lands but when that one owner (very influential in Park County, I believe) complained, it became a problem for ALL private land on these peaks, not just his.


This has been sort of my understanding as well. That while technically Bross is "closed", it is not the landowner(s) that is saying that because nobody can find all of them to ask them. We know the land is private, but nobody can actually track down the owner to find out if they are willing to grant permission for hiking to the peak's true summit... It seems to me that the people who own Bross don't even know they own it or would have come forward by now - especially if they wanted to keep people off of it. The original owners probably died and willed it to some long lost relative in Florida that doesn't even know what a 14er is... That seems to be the reason why people have such a nonchalant attitude towards trespassing on its summit, it seems there is nobody to press charges against you for trespassing when people don't even know who owns the land! For all I know, I own the summit of Bross, if that is the case, have at it, you can climb it if you want. :wink:

PS - I thought the original issue was because of the guy who owned land on Lincoln was worried about people on his land getting injured and then suing him for their injuries. Hence the reason the official loop trail was created, to create an official trail and a way to protect the landowner from sue-happy idiots.
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Re: Bross Solution: New Summit?

Postby gdthomas » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:22 am

BillMiddlebrook wrote:
Scott P wrote:I am curious as to which landowner(s) are causing issues? :?:

Well, none really. When the USFS had all the problems with the big landowner on Lincoln, they made a blanket closure. I could be wrong but I don't believe any other owners complained, at least on Bross. As part of the re-opening of the loop trail, the USFS announced that the summit of Bross was closed because permission has not been granted by all of the landowners, and there are many right on the summit. So, agencies like the CFI, MRHI and CMC have to go with the "official" line from the USFS and they have done so. These organizations have also taken on the task to try and track down the owners to obtain permission, but I don't believe much progress has been made on the issue.

I still think it was only one land owner that started all of this and the USFS simply decided to say all private land is closed and only the loop trail can be used to obtain these summit, with the exception of Bross. We really don't know if the owners of parcels on, say, the east side of Bross really care if hikers go up from Mineral Creek. Who knows? But I do know that tracking down owners is probably very difficult. Many years went by with hikers climbing these peaks and using the trails through private lands but when that one owner (very influential in Park County, I believe) complained, it became a problem for ALL private land on these peaks, not just his.


As I've stated in a previous thread, two people I was hiking with two summers ago who decided to go to Bross' summit were confronted by an owner or their representative. They were on an ATV with a shotgun or rifle on the back. They made it clear to my hiking companions the summit was private property and in no uncertain terms, told them to leave. I imagine this happens all the time up there.
Last edited by gdthomas on Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bross Solution: New Summit?

Postby crossfitter » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:26 am

Maybe a lawyer on here could comment, but is there a way that someone/a group of people/the state of Colorado could use adverse possession to claim ownership of Bross? It looks like whomever owns Bross has forgotten about it.
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Re: Bross Solution: New Summit?

Postby MountainHiker » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:38 am

It’s interesting people appeared to tell someone to leave, yet the titled owners were unable to be found for access discussions. As eluded to earlier in this and other threads, I’m suspicious they might have been lying about what THEY actually own.
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Re: Bross Solution: New Summit?

Postby Carl » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:39 am

crossfitter wrote:Maybe a lawyer on here could comment, but is there a way that someone/a group of people/the state of Colorado could use adverse possession to claim ownership of Bross? It looks like whomever owns Bross has forgotten about it.


There are a few issues with respect to adverse possession, one of which is the good faith requirement:

(II) Either the person claiming by adverse possession or a predecessor in interest of such person had a good faith belief that the person in possession of the property of the owner of record was the actual owner of the property and the belief was reasonable under the particular circumstances.

Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 38-41-101

Also, there might be an issue with joint possession under CO law, see Beaver Creek Ranch, L.P. v. Gordman Leverich Ltd. Liability Ltd. Partnership

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Re: Bross Solution: New Summit?

Postby coloradokevin » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:58 pm

gdthomas wrote:
BillMiddlebrook wrote:
Scott P wrote:I am curious as to which landowner(s) are causing issues? :?:

Well, none really. When the USFS had all the problems with the big landowner on Lincoln, they made a blanket closure. I could be wrong but I don't believe any other owners complained, at least on Bross. As part of the re-opening of the loop trail, the USFS announced that the summit of Bross was closed because permission has not been granted by all of the landowners, and there are many right on the summit. So, agencies like the CFI, MRHI and CMC have to go with the "official" line from the USFS and they have done so. These organizations have also taken on the task to try and track down the owners to obtain permission, but I don't believe much progress has been made on the issue.

I still think it was only one land owner that started all of this and the USFS simply decided to say all private land is closed and only the loop trail can be used to obtain these summit, with the exception of Bross. We really don't know if the owners of parcels on, say, the east side of Bross really care if hikers go up from Mineral Creek. Who knows? But I do know that tracking down owners is probably very difficult. Many years went by with hikers climbing these peaks and using the trails through private lands but when that one owner (very influential in Park County, I believe) complained, it became a problem for ALL private land on these peaks, not just his.


As I've stated in a previous thread, two people I was hiking with two summers ago who decided to go to Bross' summit were confronted by an owner or their representative. They were on an ATV with a shotgun or rifle on the back. They made it clear to my hiking companions the summit was private property and in no uncertain terms, told them to leave. I imagine this happens all the time up there.


Or, maybe they were confronted by someone who had no real legal interest in the property, but felt like they push some hikers around? After hearing about the parking-related issues that have been going on up there, such a confrontation wouldn't really come as a surprise to me (even if the person had no legal interest in the land).

Until I read Bill's post just now, I hadn't realized that no landowners were actually making a complaint about Bross (must have confused it with the Lincoln guy). I can kind of see a different perspective on this peak now, at least in light of that information. Personally, if no complaint is being made in any way by any known landowner, and people have been using that summit for as many years as they have, I wouldn't be concerned with walking up there myself. There really might be no person alive today who realizes that they even have an interest in that parcel! And, the USFS really doesn't have venue over private land, so who are they to tell us what we can or cannot do on a piece of private property that they don't own?

Maybe I'm missing something, or maybe I'm just a grumpy guy who wants to hike in the mountains with a little less red tape. While I recognize how contentious this issue is among climbers, I have to wonder why we're so concerned about accessing this summit these days? If there isn't a complaint from a property owner, why isn't it just business as usual?


Here's some information from the Colorado Revised Statutes, which hopefully helps to illustrate my point (highlights were added by me). Since the issue of "trespass" keeps being raised around here, I figured we ought to take a look at that statute:


18-4-504. Third degree criminal trespass.

(1) A person commits the crime of third degree criminal trespass if such person unlawfully enters or remains in or upon premises of another.
(2) Third degree criminal trespass is a class 1 petty offense, but:
(a) It is a class 3 misdemeanor if the premises have been classified by the county assessor for the county in which the land is situated as agricultural land pursuant to section 39-1-102 (1.6), C.R.S.; and
(b) It is a class 5 felony if the person trespasses on premises so classified as agricultural land with the intent to commit a felony thereon.


18-4-201. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Premises" means any real estate and all improvements erected thereon.
(2) "Separate building" means each unit of a building consisting of two or more units separately secured or occupied.
(3) A person "enters unlawfully" or "remains unlawfully" in or upon premises when the person is not licensed, invited, or otherwise privileged to do so. A person who, regardless of his or her intent, enters or remains in or upon premises that are at the time open to the public does so with license and privilege unless the person defies a lawful order not to enter or remain, personally communicated to him or her by the owner of the premises or some other authorized person. A license or privilege to enter or remain in a building that is only partly open to the public is not a license or privilege to enter or remain in that part of the building that is not open to the public. Except as is otherwise provided in section 33-6-116 (1), C.R.S., a person who enters or remains upon unimproved and apparently unused land that is neither fenced nor otherwise enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders does so with license and privilege unless notice against trespass is personally communicated to the person by the owner of the land or some other authorized person or unless notice forbidding entry is given by posting with signs at intervals of not more than four hundred forty yards or, if there is a readily identifiable entrance to the land, by posting with signs at such entrance to the private land or the forbidden part of the land.


The only sign in that area (last time I checked) was posted by the USFS, merely stating that the summit of Mt. Bross is closed. That agency is not the land owner, they apparently aren't acting as an agent of the landowner(s) who haven't been found, and I doubt their signs meet that posting requirement even if they were the agent of the landowners (who, apparently, are still missing in action). Moreover, if the person on the ATV that confronted hikers up there does actually own that land, he would have to post the land or continue to sit up there and tell people to leave.
Last edited by coloradokevin on Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bross Solution: New Summit?

Postby painless4u2 » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:58 pm

It’s interesting people appeared to tell someone to leave, yet the titled owners were unable to be found for access discussions. As eluded to earlier in this and other threads, I’m suspicious they might have been lying about what THEY actually own


During our foray onto the summit, we were also met by people on 4-wheelers, mounted guns on back and all. They smiled and gave us a wave, and rode off. No problema!
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Re: Bross Solution: New Summit?

Postby ztop » Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:43 pm

I'm not a lawyer, but I do pay property taxes, as does everyone else who owns land in the state. Don't owners of patented claims have to pay tax on their land, too? In that case, who is paying it on the summit land, and if not, doesn't it go into a tax sale?

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Re: Bross Solution: New Summit?

Postby MountainHiker » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:40 pm

Tax sale! I’ll chip in. That would be sweet!
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Re: Bross Solution: New Summit?

Postby TheOtherIndian » Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:39 pm

MountainHiker wrote:Tax sale! I’ll chip in. That would be sweet!


But you can't get a +1 or a snowflake every time you visit your property ;)
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Re: Bross Solution: New Summit?

Postby shaunster_co » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:33 pm

ztop wrote:I'm not a lawyer, but I do pay property taxes, as does everyone else who owns land in the state. Don't owners of patented claims have to pay tax on their land, too? In that case, who is paying it on the summit land, and if not, doesn't it go into a tax sale?


This is a good point. A patented claim pays property tax just like any other valuation of land. An unpatented claim pays the $130 yearly maintenance fee to BLM, which is irrelevant in this case. Either way, if a title search was conducted on the parcels in question and the owners were attempted for back taxes but not found, there should be a set time period before the title reverts to public sale. BLM has no jurisdiction over a patented claim, it is handled through the county assessor - it does not revert back to reclamation as the unpatented claims do. Boulder county has obtained several patented claims through this process - very few of them make it to public sale.

I would be curious if/why the decision was made by USFS to 'close' the area. In these cases they have specific instruction from both Dep't of Interior and BLM to remain neutral on land ownership issues. Not to open up a can of worms, but I somehow doubt that agency put it's neck out.

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Re: Bross Solution: New Summit?

Postby KentonB » Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:47 pm

ztop wrote:I'm not a lawyer, but I do pay property taxes, as does everyone else who owns land in the state. Don't owners of patented claims have to pay tax on their land, too? In that case, who is paying it on the summit land, and if not, doesn't it go into a tax sale?

I had the same thought reading through this thread... NO one knows who owns the land? I often use county assessor web sites to track down land owners for local climbs I do. Unfortunately, Park County's doesn't have a map feature to easily hone in on the owner. Still, it seems like the assessor's office would know who the land owner is for tax purposes. Does anyone know the Parcel #?

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