Forest Service use Eminent Domain to seize off-grid home

barries1Andy and Ceil Barrie chose a retreat property far off the beaten path. They spent time and money developing the early C19th cabin in the White River national forest. Making it their own.

Then the Forest service comes along and says, “Nope, we want this land – you’re out.”

Can they just take it, evicting you like they are the landlord and you are merely a tenant, despite your name on the deed?

Yes they can.

That’s exactly what happened to Andy and Ceil Barrie in Colorado and the government won.

The move shocked the Barries. They have allowed hikers to travel through their property, had no plans to develop the land and were negotiating with the county at the time it moved to seize the property through Eminent Domain.

Open space “is all it’s ever been,” said Andy Barrie. “I feel like I can’t trust my government.”

Summit County Attorney Jeff Huntley said the county had to act after the Barries insisted on being able to use motorized transport to get to the cabin. “People in this community are very intent on preserving the back country,” he said.

The moral to this story is, the government does not support the lifestyle to which many of us aspire. Self-sufficiency and freedom from the grid are not celebrated, but demonized. The government, through various agencies masquerading as do-gooders, have waged war on woodstoves, off-grid lifestyles, front yard vegetable gardens, and anything that might allow you to live without their daily input or without being subject to their many taxes and fees.

Private property rights are ignored and according to the government, we must all submit to their “eminent domain”. What it boils down to: You might think you own something, but it’s clear that it is only yours until the government decides that they want it.

The government used many different bizarre strategies to get the people off of their land. Pay close attention, because precedents are being set that could affect hunters, fishermen or anyone creating off the grid retreats.

#1 ATV access threatened an endangered species as they drove the 1.2 miles off main road occasionally.

#2 The county demanded that “various commercial activities” be halted. They brought dead pine cones one Christmas to make wreaths, from their own land.

#3 The county condemned the cabin because of electrical and plumbing issues. It had no electric or plumbing, it was a day cabin.

#4 The cabin was in violation of zoning laws. What laws?

And don’t think you are safe because you aren’t in America. Land owners in Australia are finding out the hard way that the government can take their land too. In the UK, almost nobody dares live off-grid because the local planners can have them fined and ultimately jailed for contempt of court.

10 Responses

  1. Eminent domain for corporate use is clearly out of control. Look what Clean Line Energy is attempting to do in Missouri with the Grain Belt Express powerline project. Thousands of acres across the state are desired by a billionaires speculation project.

  2. @Jay.

    What we have had isn’t a “democracy.” The illusion of democracy has been pulled away in the last couple of decades. What we have now is an facist state (the merger of government and corporate powers) run by and for the benefit of oligarchs. What we need is more democracy, not less.

  3. Eminent Domain is government bullying the people. The people can’t have land off the grid….but the government can. lol Eminent Domain is happening all over…Colorado, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Florida, Texas, California…just about every state…if the truth were to be known. A lot of it is private property being taken for private gain.

  4. Just Compensation does not replace memories and happiness with all the stress it brings having to move, rebuild and live in fear of it happening again. Democracy is Fascism by another name with the laws to do as they please!

  5. This is what is happening to farmers in Nebraska with the XL Pipeline–only in this case, they’re giving eminint domain rights to a foreign-owned company.

  6. What were they paid? No mention of a “just compensation” amount. This seems one-sided reporting without stating what the couple received in exchange for losing the cabin.

  7. I’m confused. Headline says Forest Service took land by eminent domain; article talks only about activity by Summit County and various zoning laws. How about getting the facts straight before going off.

  8. Property means right of ownership and never the thing owned. All too often, many confuse a parcel or a house as property itself. Neither are property. Yet, someone can have property in a house or in a parcel.

    That said, government, the creature has surpassed society, the creator. How has this happened?


    “As long as I get my free-to-me government medicine, food, housing, I don’t care what politicians do.”

    In representative democracies, politicians only can gain power by doling out welfare and subsidy to the greedy who surrender their individual power and sovereignty to politicians in exchange for unearned buying power.

    I explain it all here:




    and here:


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