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Is the property I’m looking at land-locked? What does that mean to me?

If you are purchasing private property and access to it is across other private lands or access is unclear, it’s best to check with your listing agent, title company, or an attorney to resolve private access issues. It’s best to resolve this issue before the land is purchased.

What types of rights of way/easements can the State issue?

State statute provides the basis for what types of rights of way/easements can be granted by the State Board of Land Commissioners.   Generally, the following purposes are allowed:

  • Private Access Roads to fee simple title landowners for residential, farm/ranch and timber management purposes
  • Public Access Roads under the jurisdiction of a City, County, or State
  • Electric/Telecommunications Lines operated by a utility company
  • Oil/Gas Pipelines operated by a utility company or industrial corporation
  • Water/Sewer Lines and Systems operated by an organized district or municipality
  • Public Parks and Facilities managed and maintained by an authorized entity
  • Other uses, such as encroachments of buildings and/or other facilities, however penalties for trespass use may be applied

Does the State acquire access to landlocked Trust lands?

Yes, the DNRC actively pursues opportunities to acquire access to State Trust lands.   The Right of Way Section has a dedicated State-Wide Access Acquisition Specialist specifically for this purpose.   The DNRC seeks reciprocal opportunities with private landowners and our industrial cooperators to secure access to each party’s respective lands.  Additionally, the DNRC has entered into a cost share agreement with the United States Forest Service that allows each party to reciprocate access and share in the cost of maintenance for use of roads within our intermingled ownership.  For more information on the access acquisition program, please contact the DNRC’s representative at 406-751-2250.

Can rights of way/easements be assigned?

Yes, all rights of way/easements issued by the State are assignable, however any such assignment must be on the forms provided by the DNRC and must be approved by the Director.  Assignment documents may need to be crafted specific to the purpose and use outlined in the right of way/easement.  Please contact your local DNRC office for more information on the assignment process and whether a standard or special form is needed.

Information from the DNRC.

Access Road Easement Policy

Reciprocal Access and Easement Exchange Policy


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