Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Private property woes

It looks like the timber company that owns most of the property behind me is going to be hard to get along with. That property has historically been open to the public for hunting and about anything else short of pot gardens. When I moved here, over 34 years ago, another timber company owned it. They were good neighbors and easy to get along with. A few years later another company bought it, and aside from discontinuing firewood cutting permits, everything remained pretty much the same. The present owners bought the property 3 years ago.

The last couple of years saw no changes to speak of. Now suddenly in the last 2 - 3 weeks, roads have been gated off and NO TRESPASSING signs put up. They can’t close the main road leading up the mountain, as it is public access to a trailhead, and has been recorded as such at the County Courthouse since 1938; but they are gating off the side roads and posting the property. The company has, or had, an office in a nearby town, but the telephone has been disconnected. A company representative lives down the road from me, but is making himself unavailable. Won’t answer the phone or return calls.

This morning I headed up the mountain as usual to set up a couple of calling stands and maybe bring home a squirrel or two for dinner. As I said, this road is public access. It was down right spooky up there, considering this is deer season. Didn’t see another soul or even hear another vehicle. When I came back down off the mountain I saw a sign that I either hadn’t noticed on my way up, or it was put up behind me. NO TRESPASSING, HUNTING, OR FISHING. I guess you can use the road to reach the trailhead, but if you step off it you are technically trespassing. Time will tell what develops over this, but the present owners of the property have made an awful lot of enemies.


Casey said...

Sorry to hear that Bob. Sounds like maybe they want the hunting rights to themselves?

The same kind of thing happened here several years ago regarding railroad track right of ways. Used to be you could walk and hunt them for pheasants and rabbits. Not any more. Now we're tresspassing. Sucks. There is a lot of good cover along railroad tracks.

Hope things work out for you and all concerned.

Take care.

Bob Mc said...

Hi Casey. It wouldn't surprise me that if sometime in the future they grant hunting rights FOR A FEE. As of right now they are unreachable. The phone number printed on the trespassing signs is the same one listed in the phone book, and it has been disconnected.

HermitJim said...

Some folks and some companies just want to control everything. You can bet tht they will charge someone a pretty penny at some point to hunt on the property.

Sorry to see them take this attitude, but I guess that they don't believe in being good neighbors!

Momlady said...

You might want to go down to the county clerk's office and check on the public access aspect. It sucks that they are bad neighbors.

Bob Mc said...

Already been down that road Momlady, and with the County Board Of Supervisors. They own the land, plain and simple. The road is public access to a trailhead in the National Forest, and they can't close it. Nothing says they have to maintain it though. I've been told that years ago there was even talk of paving that road, but it never happened. There is another road a few miles away that also leads to a trailhead. That road is jointly owned by the same timber company and the Forest Service, so they can't close that one either, but they own the surrounding property and have put up gates and no trespassing signs there too.

Leigh said...

We have had similar problems... This must be a growing trend.

Bob Mc said...

The more I learn about this, the more it seems like it might not be so bad. The company rep down the road no longer works for them. The reason he didn’t return my calls is that he has been away. I talked with his wife this evening. The company office in a nearby town has been closed; the reason for the disconnected phone. Closest office now is in a town 100 miles away in Oregon. From what I have been able to gather, they aren’t particularly concerned about people on foot or horseback; they just don’t want the roads torn up. Could be a liability issue too. Sooo, until I hear different I’ll carry on as usual; afoot or horseback, and mainly setting up calling stands with a camera. They shouldn’t find much to complain about with that, and besides, there doesn’t seem to be anyone around. Next summer could be different if they start logging, but hopefully by then I’ll be somewhere else fishing.