Nine 5-acre parcels of land are surrounded by the Chugach National Forest. To get to the parcels, the landowners cross land owned by the state Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources as well as the Alaska Railroad.
Two of the landowners, Wesley Artz and Warren Rowe say they bought the land from the original homesteaders in 2003.
The property was created on federal lands around the 20-mile River area in the 1970s.
The two say they had always used the historical and traditional route to get to their property by trekking through ice and snow, then crossing the railroad.
"When we bought the property, the access wasn't really an issue," said Artz. "We were told we could use off-road vehicles and ATVs and snowmachines to access our property from the original property owner, and that he never had an issue with it."
The National Forest Service says because the new access route to the private lands goes through sensitive environmental areas, the cost of creating a road or route to get there is substantial and will have to be shared by all parties.
While the owners say they can use the new access point in the winter, they won't be able to in the summer, and that's why they want to continue with the traditional route.
The Railroad had told the property owners that crossing the railroad at their traditional spot was unsafe because it's not a visual corridor, and designated another area to cross.
"If you're a railroad, you really have to control the access. It really is a right of way," said Tom Brooks of the Alaska Railroad Corporation. "We have to know the way is clear so we can operate our train safely and efficiently, so there has to be controls on where things happen and how we take the railroad and make it safe for not only the people on train but also for people who live around us."
That area, property owners argue, is one that requires crossing marsh and pond, which they say makes access almost impossible.
The National Forest Service, which manages the area beyond the railroad crossing, says the access to private parcels is a complex issue.
"How do we work with multiple land owners out there including the railroad address everybody's needs," said Tim Charnon of the Forest Service.
There is a trail proposed up the 20-Mile River system. It's part of the reconstruction of the Iditarod Trail system, and the Forest Service is hoping the alignment of the route will also meet the property owner's needs.