A U.S. Bureau of Land Management plan to close some desert roads and rights-of-way is being opposed by the county Board of Supervisors, which cited a 136-year-old federal statute asserting its access to such routes.
During Tuesday's board meeting, the supervisors voted unanimously on a resolution upholding the 1866 law.
Revised Statute 2477, which was initially granted to build roads essential to the settlement of the western United States, has become popular in recent years when counties discovered they could use it to block environmental groups and other interests threatening to close their land.
Access routes in the county are used by law enforcement, search and rescue teams, fire protection agencies and resource management. County Supervisor Wally Leimgruber said the county needs to keep such roads accessible.