What makes Wyoming land so unique for investment and speculation opportunities is the abundance of “checkerboard” land created by the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862. Approved by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln, this bill gave 10 miles on either side of the tracks—later increased to 20 miles—to the railroad companies to help offset the cost of constructing a railroad to the Pacific Ocean. The United States Government retained half of every township given to the railroads by keeping alternate sections. This resulted in the ownership of these townships resembling a checkerboard with every even-numbered section retained by the government and every odd-numbered section owned by the railroads. Through the years, the railroads resold most of their holdings to private buyers.
For private owners in the checkerboard area, there is a disadvantage offset by a huge benefit. The disadvantage is that it is almost impossible to secure “insurable access” through Bureau of Land Management property; therefore, power and utilities seldom are available, and banks won’t loan for construction where there isn’t insurable access. “Physical access,” however, is a different matter, as access to private property has never been blocked since the Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 was passed. Furthermore, title companies will insure ownership of private land in the checkerboard.
The huge benefit for private owners in the checkerboard is that the public can’t cross private land to get to public land, but private owners can cross public land to get to private land.” This amazing policy results in private owners being able to access millions of acres of public land that the general public can’t get to, enjoy or even visit (because to do so would constitute trespassing on private property)!
This unique ownership feature, coupled with a low purchase price, makes Wyoming land in the checkerboard area an asset that can offer substantial future potential. Where else in the entire United States of America can one find more land for less money?
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