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David R

Tresspassing Etiquette or Not

There is a ridiculously funny exchange currently going on at the Bob Burd website in regards to trespassing on private "ranch" lands. Besides the fact that the comments are straight out of a Yosemite Sam cartoon, the anger is about occurrences that happened over a year ago. Nevertheless the question is pretty pertinent, how do you feel about "trespassing" when it comes to other people's property for hiking?

I admit that I have done it more times then I can count and many trail report writers on this site have engaged in similar behavior. In certain cases where I know I have an option I ask for permission such as access to the Santa Paula Peak TH but otherwise a quick hop through some personal property for access purposes has never been on my radar as a concern. I look at it is as a victimless crime but I'm sure others will disagree. I know we have hikers here so I'm guessing most will be pro-trespass but am interested in your opinions...
tracker

Remember - Fences and signs don't necessarily give title to land. Do your research and find out for sure who actually owns the exact place/trail in question. It's fairly common for property owners to fudge when it comes to signs and fences; especially if they are grumpy and/or have something to hide.
That being said; If you find that a trail or place is on land belonging to another, and you know or reasonably should have known this fact, and the land owner has made it clear you are not welcome, you should stay away.
Mike P

I am not 100% sure on the law here, but don't some trails fall under some kind of prescriptive or historical use/easement? Regardless of ownership...?
tracker

Mike P wrote:
I am not 100% sure on the law here, but don't some trails fall under some kind of prescriptive or historical use/easement? Regardless of ownership...?

Absolutely; and if such a condition exists it will be part of the deed and reflected in the parcel description. But it isn't unusual for deed details to go UN-researched for generations. Long-term assumptions can prevail over fact when no one does research and challenges the status quo.
Idea Lots of of C,C,and R's were part of the ANF being consolidated. These days, hardly anyone really does research on these old deals. Most people don't want trouble.
Evil or Very Mad I've been known to stir the pot though....
walker

In particular, the wildland/urban interface areas seem to feature a confusing patchwork of private land, gated residential developments, national forest, designated open space and assorted mystery parcels under the jurisdiction of various cites, unincorporated areas of different counties as well as institutional entities like flood control, Water and Power, S.C Edison etc.

Even if there's public land above, no guarantee there's any way to access it from below. Seems like there would be some kind of historical easement for access to most major canyons coming out of the range, but perhaps no agency wants to be responsible for somebody on their turf so better to just put up a fence. Or maybe that disconnect is the ongoing legacy of the old shootouts and water wars from back in the day.

Approaching Cucamonga peak and vicinity from the southern flats seems to be completely verboten, if I'm not mistaken. What access there was is gradually being lost because of hooliganism at certain sites. But how many old trails up into the range have been completely lost over the years in this way?
tekewin

Re: Tresspassing Etiquette or Not

David R wrote:
There is a ridiculously funny exchange currently going on at the Bob Burd website in regards to trespassing on private "ranch" lands. Besides the fact that the comments are straight out of a Yosemite Sam cartoon, the anger is about occurrences that happened over a year ago.


Do you have a link to the thread?

I've trespassed a few times, sometimes accidentally, sometimes not.  Private property is not always marked. It depends on where the land is and what is on it. I would not trespass if it risked damaging property or if it passed close to a residence where I might be mistaken for a burglar.

There is a related issue accessing public land that has been closed for various reasons, like fire damage, endangered species, or arbitrary seasonal closing. I think common sense provides more latitude in these cases.
David R

Link to discussion(?) on Bob's website:

http://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/toll_bm_1.html
tracker

David R wrote:
Link to discussion(?) on Bob's website:

http://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/toll_bm_1.html

The link doesn't seem to work, at least for me.

A good example of the people asserting their rights can be found along PCH in Malibu. The California Constitution guarantees that the people have the right to access publicly-owned coastline. A lot (but not all) of those exclusive houses built along that stretch have gates that must remain unlocked and available for the public to use.
A couple years ago I was at one of those houses on a work-related matter and I got to witness this little-known situation. Three teens came through a gate into a side yard area and politely waited as the property owner had to scoot his lawn chair out of the way for them to pass. I guess the confused expression on my face prompted the property owner to explain the situation.
Idea The moral of the story is: Someone did the research, pushed the issue, and the public right of access to public property was upheld.
David R

Some of the posters were threatening legal action if he didn't remove the directions and pictures. It looks like Bob took down that hike last night from his website. Sad
Migolito

In Cali, Generally, land with out a structure on it must be posted at access points, fenced, irrigated, or freshly tilled to be trespassed on to. I too have come across land that is illegally marked or posted-our foothills are rife with this problem ie The Claremont WIlderness. Research is the way to go, but, I'd be very hesitant about doing the research and then just crossing what your research indicates may be publicly accessible property. It could get very, very dicey. I live in the foothill area and have occasionally had trespassers walk across my property despite the property being posted. Example: The Time Warner Cable electronic leak (cable theft) van used to regularly drive across my bridge, past the No Trespassing sign, and into a small private neighborhood. He claimed he had a "right" to inspect TWC lines, despite the actual absence of TWC lines. I was cordial the first time explaining to him we are not customers, the second time I was...not so cordial, the third time I blocked his van with my truck and called the Sheriff-the guy was issued a written No Trespass Order. I've dealt with errant hunters in a less patient way.
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