Scofield Dam and Reservoir Lands

Scofield Timeline of Events

1925 - 1926 Original Scofield Dam constructed by Price River Water Conservation District
1927 E.B. and Gertrude Jensen convey separate property deeds to the Price River Water Conservancy District for the construction of a dam and reservoir and to the Madsen brothers.
1928 Scofield Dam partially failed in May upon its initial filling
  • The President authorized the Scofield Project under the Water Conservation and Utilization Act of 1939.
  • The Carbon Water Conservancy District authorized under the Utah Water Conservancy Act of 1941.
  • Construction of the new dam begins
  • The United States enters into various land purchase contracts and acquires property for the enlargement of the original Scofield Dam and for construction of the new dam and reservoir
  • Carbon County passes resolutions to encourage construction of the new dam and to abate taxes in order to clear title for properties acquired by the United States
1945 The United States government obtains a quit claim deed from the Price River Water Conservancy District for all its interest in lands around Scofield Reservoir and builds a new dam.
1946 On June 15, the construction of Scofield Dam was completed.
1947 Denver and Rio Grande Railroad deeds previous alignment of the railroad to the United States.
1951 United States deeds new alignment for relocation of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad line.
1976 Bureau of Reclamation meets with several residents in the Scofield area to discuss property ownership problems.
1998 A modular home manufacturer approaches United States for an agreement for a client to construct a modular home on property at Scofield Reservoir. Title policy for on that property and research of Carbon County Records confirms United States ownership. Reclamation told the manufacturer and their client not to build the home on United States property.
1999 Reclamation files a quiet title suit in federal court naming the modular home manufacturer’s client when they built a house on United States property. The suit was amended to include all parties claiming land who are encumbering United States lands which were purchased from Anna Madsen and Louise Watts in 1943.
2007 U.S. District Court Judge rules that the federal government owns the land but the defendants have "a right to use for grazing and other purposes" when not covered by water of the reservoir. Permanent structures were ordered to be removed.
  • 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses finding of a use right on the land in question directing a ruling that no other persons have any interest in or right to use the United States property and remands back to the District Court.
  • District Court for Utah issues an Amended Judgment in compliance with the 10th Circuit Court's order stating that the United States owns the property at issue, but no persons own any interest in the property.
  • On September 3, Bureau of Reclamation meets with residents of the Scofield area to discuss additional land occupancy not involved in the quite title litigation but that might be affected by certain terms and conditions of the District Court's amended ruling. At the public meeting, Reclamation sought local representatives to serve on a cooperative committee to continue discussions and help identify potential alternatives to resolve the situation.
Last Updated: 3/10/17