I think a lot of people use the term "right of way" in too broadly in these situations. You need to understand there are easements across land for very specific use or users, dedicated right of way as you would find in subduvisions, right of ways acquired by long term public use which the courts typically treat like limited use easements, then you have right of ways acquired through purchase, these can be either private or public. When asking about these from county staff its very likely they will generalize without doing the research. Then to further confuse the issue every state adopted laws in their early days to deal with public access and who gets the right of way if vacated. Another hybrid is counties allowing a subdivision with publicly dedicated right of way to privately control that right of way which is a means of getting gated communities.