By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) announced that the County of San Bernardino has endorsed his bipartisan bill, HR 4313, the Historic Routes Preservation Act. This bipartisan bill provides an administrative means for the federal government to confirm rights-of-way on public lands administered by the Departments of Interior and Agriculture.
The County of San Bernardino said, “With more than 80 percent of the land in San Bernardino County owned by the Federal Government, there remain a number of important roads that should have their rights-of-ways recognized through a simple, predictable process. This has been an unresolved issue in the American West for 40 years.”
The Historic Routes Preservation Act solves this problem by creating an administrative process for counties to resolve these rights of way without going to court. It applies only to existing travel routes and does not create new roads on public lands. Further, it will not apply to Department of Defense installations. The burden of proof to have a right-of-way recognized under this legislation will be with the governmental unit that files and administrative costs to the federal government should be minimal.
Cook said, “I’m grateful for the county’s endorsement of the Historic Routes Preservation Act. This bill is about empowering local counties and gives the Bureau of Land Management clear administrative responsibility when it comes to confirming rights-of-ways on our public lands. We must continue to keep public access available on public lands.”
A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.