Public and Private Lands


The use and development of land and water rights in the West often requires the approval of federal, state, and local land management and permitting agencies.  Special use permits for the construction of reservoirs, pipelines, and roads on federal land, Clean Water Act section 404 permits for water storage and diversions, and county 1041 permits for land use changes are examples of the requirements commonly imposed on new projects.  Easements are often needed across private land for roads, pipelines, and transmission lines.  As rural land uses change, disputes can arise among neighbors as to historical access routes and property boundaries.  Land exchanges, fence line agreements, and other real estate transactions can be beneficial in order to allow landowners to make productive use of their respective properties.

The attorneys at Petros & White, LLC assist the firm’s clients by working with federal, state, and local agencies to obtain permits allowing the use of public and private lands and the development of water resource projects.  These matters often involve the application of water quality, wetland, and other environmental regulations. The firm represents several cities and counties in connection with land use approvals associated with water projects and other land use changes.  We assist private and public landowners in the negotiation and documentation of land exchanges with governmental land management agencies.  We also represent our clients in administrative proceedings before state and federal adjudicatory bodies, and in litigation in state and federal courts involving disputes over public lands.  Examples of our experience in these areas include:

Administrative proceedings concerning water project permitting, timber sales, grazing permits, and land use planning on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands;

  • Master planning and permitting of ski resort operations by the U.S. Forest Service, Corps of Engineers, and state and local agencies;
  • Land exchange transactions and related litigation with the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in Colorado, Wyoming, and Washington State;
  • Permitting of communications facilities on Forest Service and BLM lands in Colorado and Arizona;
  • Negotiation and permitting of timber harvests, land exchanges, and water development on lands administered by the Colorado State Board of Land Commissioners; and
  • Local government land use planning and permitting.

We also assist our clients with private land use transactions and disputes, including easements for road access and water facilities, boundary questions, conservation easements, and land ownership adjustments.  These matters include the analysis and resolution of claims for access across private and public land under R.S. 2477 and the determination of the permissible scope of prescriptive and express access easements.