Rights-of-Way Across National Forests
The Act of June 4, 1897, does not grant a right of access to owners of land surrounded by national forests, other than actual settlers, and the Secretary of Agriculture has discretionary authority to deny such access unless a right otherwise exists.
The common law doctrine of easement by necessity does not apply to land owned by the federal government, but a right of access may be implied from the terms of a federal land grant in some circumstances. No statutes currently modify any such implied right found to exist.
Absent a prior existing access right, the Secretary of Agriculture may deny “adequate access” to land within a national forest wilderness area, but must offer a land exchange as indemnity.