Paper Trails | New Film Coming Soon!
Most public land hunters know the feeling: There you sit, parked on the shoulder of a state highway or county road, staring at an unmaintained two track or a dusty gravel road that cuts through private property on its way to the public lands beyond. There is no sign physically marking if the route is open to the public, and your map— which shows a nondescript line tracing from where you are to where you want to be —it doesn’t show if you can legally use it for access.
Even seasoned hunters can be shocked by how difficult it is to understand which undeveloped roads can be used by the public when they are crossing private land. But the cause of this confusion, while unknown to most, is oftentimes the result of legal documents—permanent easements held by agencies like the BLM, Forest Service and state wildlife departments—still being stored at local or regional offices in paper files.
Tens of thousands of such public records sit in dusty filing cabinets, waiting to be discovered, potentially opening access to untold acres of public lands across the nation.
Presented in the iconic filmmaking style of Eastmans’ Publishing and informed by the subject matter expertise of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Paper Trails will unpack a never-before-told story about existing public access rights that are invisible to all but the most informed outdoor enthusiasts. This film will shine a light on the difficulties encountered—and opportunities uncovered—when sportsmen and women dig into the legal access records that are key to unlocking some of the finest outdoor adventures found anywhere. Along the way, this 20- to 30-minute feature film will explore the backstory behind the public land access we enjoy today, provide an overview of access route issues that create public confusion, educate viewers on how to do their own access research, and highlight actionable steps that can bring public land access further into the digital age.