Firm Representing Laurel Creek Trail & Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway Landowners Back for Saluda Grade Trail Case

Stewart, Wald and McCulley

Educating property owners about their legal rights in regards to their property along a railroad conversion is our number one priority. »

—Steven M. Wald

TRYON, NORTH CAROLINA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sept. 23, 2022 / — Stewart, Wald & McCulley, a leading Rails-to-Trails law firm, which has successfully represented landlords landowners in cases involving the Laurel Creek Trail and the Atlantic and Yadkin Greenway, are back in the Carolinas.

The firm, touting successes in Greenville, SC and Guilford, NC for rail-to-trail conversion cases, now represents landowners resulting from the conversion of the Saluda Grade Rail Trail. The previous cases involved the Laurel Creek Trail and the Atlantic and Yadkin Greenway, filed in the United States Federal Court of Claims. These cases were called 112 Haywood Rd. v. United States, Case No. 15-1036, Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands SC v. United States, Case No. 18-1248, Fuller v. United States, Case No. 21-1366, Takes v. United States, case no. 21-1365, and Fray v. US, Case No. 19-1636, all of which recovered compensation from the federal government.

In the Saluda Grade Trail, landowners own land along the 31-mile Saluda Grade Rail Corridor from Inman, SC (north of Spartanburg) and continuing through Campobello, Landrum, Tryon and Saluda, before entering North Carolina and reaching Zirconia (south of Hendersonville). This trail would be 16 miles in South Carolina and 15 miles in North Carolina.

Conservation Carolina reports that the Saluda Grade Trail would be created as part of the federal railroad bank program. The Surface Transportation Board (“STB”) is a federal agency that oversees railroads. When railroads under federal jurisdiction express interest in abandoning their lines, a trail group may step in to make an offer to purchase the land and convert the rail corridor to a railroad. The process of converting inactive rail corridors into recreational trails and keeping the corridor intact for future rail use is called “rail banking”.

If the STB allows a conversion of the trails, which the company expects to happen in the short term, it would potentially trigger a claim for damages in favor of the landowners against the United States government. Whether it takes 1 year or 10 years for the design and construction of the trail to take place, Stewart, Wald & McCulley fully intend to represent the landowners for a takeover of their land. Additionally, whether the company is retained by 1 client or 100 clients, Stewart, Wald & McCulley are committed to representing landowners along the proposed Saluda Grade Rail Trail.

The landowners recently attended meetings at the Tryon Country Club hosted by Stewart, Wald & McCulley. The company plans to be back in the area for future meetings, as attorney Steven Wald notes, “educating landowners on their legal rights with respect to their property along a road conversion of iron is our number one priority”. Any lawsuit brought on behalf of a landowner is against the federal government only and does not affect the trail project. Stewart, Wald & McCulley estimates that there are approximately 232 potential claimants who are not yet represented.

Steven M. Wald
Stewart, Wald and McCulley
+1 314-720-0220
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