FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, April 3, 2015
CONTACT: Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215
Federal District Court Upholds Rails-to-Trails Designation
PIERRE – Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today the United States District Court has granted the State of South Dakota’s motion to dismiss in Trevarton et al. and Miller et al. v. State of South Dakota and the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. The decision preserves sections of the Mickelson Trail located in Fall River County.
“Many volunteers and state workers have dedicated considerable resources and care in improving and maintaining the Mickelson Trail to provide miles of enjoyment for South Dakotans and our guests. This decision strikes an important balance in preserving our South Dakota treasure and respecting private property interests,” said Jackley.
Filed in April of 2014, Plaintiffs’ Complaint sought a court declaration that portions of the Mickelson Trail located in Fall River County, originally owned by the Grand Island Railroad, had passed to private ownership. The State of South Dakota filed a motion to dismiss arguing that the railroad corridor was not abandoned as determined by federal law but was instead subject to a “interim trail use / rail banking” agreement entered into in 1989 which allowed the railroad right-of-way to be used as a recreational trail managed by the State of South Dakota and the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks.
The Court agreed thereby confirming the State’s right to use and manage the Mickelson Trail for recreational purposes.
In 2010, the Mickelson Trail was one of twenty-five trails selected from more than 1,600 trails to be granted admittance to the Rails-to-Trails Hall of Fame.