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View Full Version : Mt Cabot Trail, Open or Closed?



Oldmanwinter
02-22-2006, 07:00 AM
Thinking about Mt Cabot for Sunday and would like to use the Mt Cabot Trail. I read an older article that the Mt Cabot trail should not be used until a land owner access issue was cleared up. I see in the VFTT "Trail Conditions" that others have used the trail this winter. Can anyone shed any light on this, is it OK to hike this trail.

Thanks in advance,
OMW

dug
02-22-2006, 07:04 AM
Officially, the USFS has the trail closed. However, some ignore that and climb it anyway. If you feel it is in your right to intervene in a landowner's right (or perceived right) to close a trail that is on his land, then you should hike it.

If you feel since by all acounts the trail is closed (it doesn't show on the new AMC maps and the trail description in "the book" says it's closed and the USFS says it's closed) then it would be much appreciated if you did not go on it. It's only making the situation worse as other White Mountain bordering landowners are keeping an eye on the situation.

My opinion, go in via York Pond. It's a much nicer route.

Oldmanwinter
02-22-2006, 07:15 AM
It's only making the situation worse as other White Mountain bordering landowners are keeping an eye on the situation.

My opinion, go in via York Pond. It's a much nicer route.

Thanks, Good advice!

Waumbek
02-22-2006, 07:17 AM
This subject gets discussed a lot, so if you want all the background, pros and cons, just run a search on "Mt. Cabot Trail," and you'll pull up several recent threads on it.

RoySwkr
02-22-2006, 05:31 PM
It's only making the situation worse as other White Mountain bordering landowners are keeping an eye on the situation.

For an alternate view, if every landowner who previously sold rights-of-way starts closing them because this guy made it stick, then soon you will not be able to hike the A.T. for instance.

I haven't been up that way since the guy closed it because I don't want to argue with a gun-toter by myself, but if we got together a group of 20 or so I'd go. We need to demonstrate that property rights mean if you (or a predecessor) sold a right-of-way then you should expect that others will use it. If you don't like that, there are legal ways of extinguishing a ROW that don't involve firearms.

lx93
02-22-2006, 05:40 PM
FYI, if you're bagging peaks, don't repeat my mistake- the former fire tower (you can tell by the old cement things) is about 300 feet away from the real summit.

Which is why I can tell you to go in NOT by the Fish Hatchery or Bunnell Notch Trail (LOTS of water on it when I did Cabot the "first" time, it would be ice now), but the way past The Horn- trail is much better. (Can't remember the name of the trail- am writing this from the library and don't have my White Mt. Guidebook.) Plus, when I tagged the actual summit the "2nd" time, there was a sign on the summit.

I had heard that the gun-toting landowner has plans to put a trailer park there, lovely, eh?

DougPaul
02-22-2006, 06:19 PM
I went in by Bunnell Notch Tr twice--one attempt in winter and one ascent the following summer. Had no problems with water or mud. Parts of the trail have recently (last summer?) been relocated to go around the wet/muddy sections.

Doug

MichaelJ
02-22-2006, 06:29 PM
but the way past The Horn- trail is much better. (Can't remember the name of the trail

Take the Unknown Pond Trail from Mill Brook Road off Rte 110 in Stark, then the Kilkenny Ridge Trail from the pond up over the Bulge (on the NE Hundred Highest) directly to the summit of Cabot. It's a beautiful route.

Kevin Rooney
02-23-2006, 12:38 AM
FYI, if you're bagging peaks, don't repeat my mistake- the former fire tower (you can tell by the old cement things) is about 300 feet away from the real summit. Not to be overly fussy, lx93, but the rocky area about 300 feet from the old fire tower is not the real summit either. The real summit is about 1/2 mile further on. No views, but there was still a sign the last time I was there in January.

As for the trailer park - now that one I hadn't heard. This one has many twists ... maybe we can really get people's shorts all twisted up if we get a rumor started that Walmart is looking at the land.

forestgnome
02-23-2006, 05:17 AM
I had heard that the gun-toting landowner has plans to put a trailer park there, lovely, eh?

With all due respect, it actually is still legal in most of America to own firearms. "Gun-toting" is a derogative against those who value the Second Amendment of the Constitution. It is likely that the landowner in question, or someone who knows him, sees these threads. Derogatory comments would not be helpful toward getting the trail reopened.

Many hiking trails in the WMNF pass through private property. Hikers should be thankful and respectful of these people who allow the trails on their land. Rumor has it that there are others who are considering closing their land to hiker access.

MichaelJ
02-23-2006, 05:55 AM
maybe we can really get people's shorts all twisted up if we get a rumor started that Walmart is looking at the land.

Actually, if it's true that the right-of-way is actually a part of the deed (which I've heard), then a change of owner, no matter who it is, could be a good thing as it would get the lawyers involved and the new owner would have it right there on the legal documents that public access is allowed and have to understand they can't just arbitrarily decide to yell at people to stay out.


Many hiking trails in the WMNF pass through private property ... Rumor has it that there are others who are considering closing their land to hiker access.

Which is why the Forest Service won't press the Cabot landowner, even if he/she is in the legal wrong. They don't want to be seen as a brute squad and entice other landowners who have the right to cut off access to do so.

lx93
02-23-2006, 06:08 AM
Forestnome,

I wasn't attempting to insult people who have firearms, but apologize to anyone that I may have appeared to be doing so.

I agree, we hikers do need to be respectful of landowner's property; a few rotten eggs could ruin it for everyone.

Jasonst
02-23-2006, 07:07 AM
...started that Walmart is looking at the land.

WALMART!!!! Say it aint so!!!!!! :D

forestgnome
02-23-2006, 07:11 AM
Forestnome,

I wasn't attempting to insult people who have firearms, but apologize to anyone that I may have appeared to be doing so.

I agree, we hikers do need to be respectful of landowner's property; a few rotten eggs could ruin it for everyone.

Excellent! :) I also agree about the "few rotten eggs" ruinning something very prescious. This is a complex issue for us all. I wish I knew more about it.

My understanding is that there are different arrangements between landowner and government among the different parcells. Some view the tax benefit of the easement to be barely worth the negatives they may endure, such as lawsuits if someone gets hurt on their land. IIRC, they are covered from liability, but only to a certain amount. There have been recent lawsuits in which the booty exeeds the coverage, although these were snowmobile accidents. It has these landowners worried.

Anyone, please add or correct. This is an important issue.

Happy Trails!

dug
02-23-2006, 07:21 AM
Yeah, finally some good points on this issue! Speaking for myself, I have no opinion whether he has the RIGHT to close the trail. I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV nor did I stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night. However, the fact of the matter is that the USFS has closed the trail. There is no sign at the trailhead. The self-proclaimed "Hiker's Bible" has advised the trail is closed (then proceeds to give a description :confused: ). The latest maps do not show a trail. Knowing all that...how would know they were even in the right place?

I can agree with Forestnome that other property owners who border the mountains or have trails that cross their property are curious how this landowner is treated. If we continue to march willy-nilly across the land, we could see this type of issue arise in other areas.

We flatlanders feel we have the right to march all over the place. Leave our trash...park wherever we wish. It has ticked off a few people I know. I thank people like OldManWinter for asking before just going ahead.

--M.
02-23-2006, 08:25 AM
As a river angler, I can offer that fishermen frequently have no explicit 'right' to be where they want. They have to ask permission and be respectful.

I've never had any trouble hiking or fishing on anyone's land as long as I've remembered that, in the end, it's not mine to claim, and it might be their's.

Keeping it all in good fun,

--M.

Mike P.
02-23-2006, 11:19 AM
From what I've read:

landowner is not concerned about snowmobile lawsuits, he is trying to expand snowmobile access.

I don't think I've read anywhere in the WMG that it's the bible, I've seen that reference in Backpacker & on websites, probably even on outdoors.org by users & I've used it when selling WMGm during my tenure at EMS. comparing your own book to "The Book" would see a bit brash for any organization, IMO. There are other guides to NH but few would say their book is more comphrensive for the White Mountains.

Maybe the new State Park in Jericho will help settle this. It is planned, from what I read in Gorham over the weekend, to allow ATV & sleds.

Zimmer
02-23-2006, 12:00 PM
As for the trailer park - now that one I hadn't heard. This one has many twists ... maybe we can really get people's shorts all twisted up if we get a rumor started that Walmart is looking at the land.

Actually, the trailer park rumor does have some basis in fact. About five years ago, the owner applied to the Lancaster Zoning Board for a variance for an 88-site campground, including RV sites, on his parcel.

RoySwkr
02-27-2006, 05:31 PM
Which is why the Forest Service won't press the Cabot landowner, even if he/she is in the legal wrong. They don't want to be seen as a brute squad and entice other landowners who have the right to cut off access to do so.
My understanding is that there is a national Forest Service policy not to enforce ROW, in Colorado somebody actually built a house in the middle of a ROW and the FS did nothing.

Yes, there are kind landowners who allow hikers, hunters, etc. and we should do our best to treat them well. I don't see what that has to do with enforcing public rights to use deeded public access. If there is a question whether his deed allows public access, that is what courts are for, but this guy has already lost court fights over a denied subdivision, an RV park, and a neighbors right to cross his land, which is why he prefers intimidation. Suppose the descendents of J.E.Henry announce they no longer want hikers on Owls Head and Bond, should we honor this desire?

As to guns, the 2nd Amendment may give you a right to own firearms, but it does not give you a right to harm others with them absent any threat to yourself. Apparently some hikers to Mt Cabot have been threatened by an individual who may or may not be the landowner and somebody unknown wrote a threatening note in this file which was deleted by the moderators. In a similar situation, the RI state highpoint is on land owned by Brown U. with a ROW over someone elses land. The onetime-owner tried to keep hikers out and finally held some hikers at gunpoint and called the police, who came and arrested THAT LANDOWNER for using inappropriate force - he was not in any danger and could have just photographed them and called the police. He now has a felony conviction and cannot own guns any more. (The present landowner is much more friendly to hikers.)

dug
02-27-2006, 06:45 PM
So, we could continue to prove he's wrong, or just avoid the confrontation altogether by going the route that is requested.

Kevin Rooney
02-27-2006, 07:03 PM
Methinks the chances of dug and RoySwkr meeting on the Mt Cabot trail are pretty slim.

Double Bow
02-27-2006, 07:20 PM
In a similar situation, the RI state highpoint is on land owned by Brown U. with a ROW over someone elses land. The owner tried to keep hikers out and finally held some hikers at gunpoint and called the police, who came and arrested THE LANDOWNER for using inappropriate force - he was not in any danger and could have just photographed them and called the police. He now has a felony conviction and cannot own guns any more.

Referring to "The Landowner" is a bit misrepresentative here. The current landowners have opened up access to the highpoint and have NEVER had issue with visitors. Let's not give the impression that they are felons! They are very nice people and we ought to do our best to stay on good terms with them and act respectfully out of appreciation for their letting us on their private property.

Ridgewalker
02-27-2006, 08:54 PM
Referring to "The Landowner" is a bit misrepresentative here. The current landowners have opened up access to the highpoint and have NEVER had issue with visitors. Let's not give the impression that they are felons! They are very nice people and we ought to do our best to stay on good terms with them and act respectfully out of appreciation for their letting us on their private property.


I agree Double Bow on your remark. The situation at hand requires us hikers to respect the owner's wishes, unless you have a desire to return in a pine box to your spouse :(
My reply here is based on observation and others may add to this. Roy wrote this:
As to guns, the 2nd Amendment may give you a right to own firearms, but it does not give you a right to harm others with them absent any threat to yourself.
Your're on the the right track. I personally don't have any affinity for using arms in the manner of asking people to stay off my property. There can be other methods to request people to stay off land.

forestgnome
02-28-2006, 04:58 AM
If RoySwker is correct about the landowner losing in court an attempt to deny access, than it is settled. Why wouldn't the landowner just revoke his own easement? If the landowner is ordered by the court to allow access, then access must be enforced. At some point, this landowner freely entered into this agreement, either by buying or inheriting the land with an easement in place, or by applying for an easement. I've never heard of a forced easement, bicbw. Does he now enjoy the benefit of an easement?

Much more importantly, The USFS needs to remove the trailhead and close the trail and post a sign there stating that the trail is closed. It seems to me that the FS, by having a trailhead and a trail sign and a parking, lot is luring unaware hikers into a known potentially dangerous situation. :(

I'd bet a very small percentage of the hiking public is aware of this.

dug
02-28-2006, 07:04 AM
To be clear, I personally don't have an opinion whether he's in the right or not. I am only trying to not make the situation worse. There are two other direct routes (and another indirect route) to get to the peak. What's so special about this one? It's a boring trail, an old jeep road for much of it that is worn out and had drainage problems. If we weren't always in a quest to find the shortest and quickest routes to bag our peaks, it wouldn't even be an issue. The other routes, as others have stated numerous times, are much more scenic.

forestgnome
02-28-2006, 07:21 AM
Dug, good points, but for me personally, Bunnel Notch was a special place, incredibly beautiful but wet, boring and not the shortest route to a list peak in the view of most, and therefore very quiet. It's still beautiful, but...

My wife, a paralegal-in-training, wants to read the court case. Does anyone know the name of the case or landowner? BTW, she says the gov. has forced easements on landowners many times.

spencer
02-28-2006, 07:49 AM
I read an article in the Deuce County Press paper that Walmart is going to buy the land as part of its new efforts to console fish resources and the trails anti-proximity to the fish hatchery is their first step.


spencer

Kevin Rooney
02-28-2006, 08:41 AM
I read an article in the Deuce County Press paper that Walmart is going to buy the land as part of its new efforts to console fish resources and the trails anti-proximity to the fish hatchery is their first step.


spencerAh yeah, that's the same article I read. Damn fine newspaper.

RoySwkr
02-28-2006, 07:28 PM
Mr. Bow, I have edited my RI remarks to avoid implicating the current owners.


If the landowner is ordered by the court to allow access, then access must be enforced. At some point, this landowner freely entered into this agreement, either by buying or inheriting the land with an easement in place, or by applying for an easement.

The ROW case he lost was to an abuttor not a hiker, he has also lost 2 cases with the town planning board according to what the alleged abuttor told me.
One member of this group obtained a copy of the deed from the county courthouse but has not posted it, maybe somebody else from the North Country would like to do this. I don't wish to post the man's name, if you want to look up the deed or the court case, send me an e-mail.



Much more importantly, The USFS needs to remove the trailhead and close the trail and post a sign there stating that the trail is closed. It seems to me that the FS, by having a trailhead and a trail sign and a parking, lot is luring unaware hikers into a known potentially dangerous situation. :(

Since this part of the trail is not on NF land, they cannot close it. The signs were apparently put up by other local landowners who didn't mind hikers parking and walking on their property but did mind being disturbed by people asking where the trail was.



I'd bet a very small percentage of the hiking public is aware of this.
One thing that we all agree on is that the situation should be publicized, whether you choose to stay away or engage in civil disobedience is up to you. KR - I have not hiked this trail since the situation arose, I just feel that people should be given the full facts and let them decide for themselves rather than just saying the trail is closed.

And while I've never hiked this trail in summer, in winter it is a great snowshoe route while the others are driving and hiking adventures.

forestgnome
03-01-2006, 05:36 AM
This case interests me far beyond the Mt Cabot Trail. I plan on buying land in the near future that abutts the WMNF, and I plan on allowing access to the public (ecept ATVs and snowmobiles), effectively adding to the NF. It's a tradition in NH to not post land. I'd like to know the reason a landowner would have for denying a ROW to the public.

RoySwker, I'll pm you for the name of the case. I emailed FS but haven't gotten a reply yet.

Meanwhile, I agree that it would be wise to not use the trail, that is, if you're actually aware of the situation.

dug
03-01-2006, 08:22 AM
This case interests me far beyond the Mt Cabot Trail. I plan on buying land in the near future that abutts the WMNF, and I plan on allowing access to the public (ecept ATVs and snowmobiles), effectively adding to the NF. It's a tradition in NH to not post land. I'd like to know the reason a landowner would have for denying a ROW to the public.

That's been my point all along. Other landowners who have property that border the WMNF are interested to see this plays out.