Landowners are Fighting the B.L.M. to keep land they already own - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Landowners are Fighting the B.L.M. to keep land they already own.

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Wichita Falls, TX - The Federal Bureau of Land Management is being called into question as it pushes to take away land that currently belongs to Texas Landowners living on the Red River border of Texas and Oklahoma.

Kevin Hunter, a landowner on that border says the B.L.M. is threatening to take away as much as 200 acres from his 352 acre property.

“It’s my land that I bought and paid for,” said Hunter. “I’m like anyone else that has a love for the land. Ya know they're gonna want stuff like this and there's only so much river land. That's why I bought it.”

Billy T. Elder, a Burkburnett attorny says the B.L.M. is laying claim to almost 90,000 acres which they say is part of their domain.

”In 1923 the supreme court set the gradient line as a boundary,” said Elder. “But they say that that line is changed by erosion and accretion, which either increases land or decreases land depending where the river moves. As a result that boundary line changes. Well this is importnat because the B.L.M owns no property in Texas, other than what they bought. Texas was a Republic, and as such the Federal Government doesn't own anything in Texas.”

“I don't know, I'm not gonna let them take it,” said Hunter. “I'm not gonna let them take it. Hopefully people will feel the same way I do. But it's mine.”

Charlotte Spragins, another landowner on the river said it’s distressful that the Federal Government is allowed to do this to the citizens. She says that land is for cattle grazing and crops.

“If the government takes it away and gives it to the public, you're taking food out of somebodys mouth,” said Spragins. “This is the beginning of something that I don't think anybody wants.”

In 2008 the B.L.M. went onto what is still considered the Texas boundary and placed markers indicating what Elder says, is their idea of the Texas and Oklahoma state line.

“You can't go out there and just say here's the boundary line,” says Elder. “Because it changes with erosion and accretion.”

     Elder says this is the preliminary stage and it’s not clear as to when any decisions will be made.

Brody Carter

Newschannel 6