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Enapai
03-12-2007, 07:14 PM
It was rumoured to me that the Mt Cabot trail was acceptable to use. They cited VFTT as a source of this information. I searched some of the archives to see if there was some discussion on this topic but could not find any. Does anybody have info on this topic?

dug
03-12-2007, 07:29 PM
There is a post in the trail conditions where someone stated, basically, that they parked at the end of the road -where there was no plowed parking area- and went ahead and hiked it. Some loggers didn't say anything. Apparently, in their minds this meant it was legal. There are no trailhead signs or anything.

Keep in mind a common misconception is the landowner right where Gates Rd. ends is the landowner with the problem. Actually, it is the landowner along the trailway that the trail crosses who has the dispute. You could get an answer from the landowner at the end of Gates Rd. that will be "OK", but they aren't the issue.

So,in fact, no, it is not open for hiking. Every time someone chooses to go this way, it doesn't sit too well with some other landowners who have land that border trails in and around the WMF who already feel threatened by our presence.

The suggested route is either via Bunnel Notch or via Unknown Pond. Thanks for checking.

vegematic
03-12-2007, 07:36 PM
I don't know how to link to other threads but there are some on here discussing the Cabot Trail issue.

The short story is: The Forest Service has, at least for now, closed the trail. The off-limits portion has been rmoved from AMC maps and a note regarding its closure is in the most recent White Mountain Guide. However, some people still use it, including some AMC organised hikes. Most folks who use it seem not to run into any problems with the landowner but there have been reports of some angry confrontations.

There are other approaches to this summit: Bunnell Notch Trail, Unknown Pond Trail from the Berlin Fish Hatchery, and Unknown Pond Trail from Stark. I've hiked the first two and they are quite nice, but longer. They can be combined as a lovely loop hike. I am unfamiliar with the Stark route.

-vegematic

NewHampshire
03-12-2007, 07:51 PM
This question seems to be asked quite often.

Here is the short gist of it all:

YES it is closed. YES, the Forest Service suggest you not use it. YES, people do regardless. YES, most people have no problems, but some have and do.

The only time I have been up Cabot was via that way. Having seen pictures of the other approaches, however, I suggest you do yourself a favor and just forget about the Mt. Cabot Trail. IMHO, it is for getting up and down quick, not necessarily for its attractiveness.

Brian

Enapai
03-12-2007, 08:17 PM
Thanks for the notice, it had been my understanding all along that this route was closed and not to be used, I just figured I would double check to see if I was out of the loop. Thanks.

Oldmanwinter
03-13-2007, 11:06 AM
This is a post I copied from the trail conditions section.

Trail: Mt. Cabot Trail Still Closed
Date Hiked: 02/06/07
Conditions: All information to the contrary is incorrect.
Submitted by:local

RoySwkr
03-13-2007, 11:54 AM
It was rumoured to me that the Mt Cabot trail was acceptable to use. They cited VFTT as a source of this information. I searched some of the archives to see if there was some discussion on this topic but could not find any. Does anybody have info on this topic?
Different members of VFTT have differing opinions, there is no definitive answer in spite of what certain dogmatic people claim

Here is my search result
http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=10160



So,in fact, no, it is not open for hiking. Every time someone chooses to go this way, it doesn't sit too well with some other landowners who have land that border trails in and around the WMF who already feel threatened by our presence.

There is a deeded right-of-way across one property that the landowner wishes wasn't there. He tried to keep off somebody with property higher up and lost in court. He has also lost 2 court decisions to the town. Instead of going to court to ban hikers, he prefers to intimidate them.

Conservation groups have spent millions of dollars on land easements that later owners would prefer didn't exist. If this guy on Mt Cabot goes unchallenged, owners of parcels where hiking is definitely allowed may close theirs next


This is a post I copied from the trail conditions section.

Trail: Mt. Cabot Trail Still Closed
Date Hiked: 02/06/07
Conditions: All information to the contrary is incorrect.
Submitted by:local
Note that this post is unsigned with no contact info so there is no particular reason to believe it

dug
03-13-2007, 01:08 PM
This will go round and round, it always does. The USFS deemed it closed. Draw your own conclusions.

:mad:

NewHampshire
03-13-2007, 02:01 PM
This will go round and round, it always does.

Quite true, this is an issue that always seems to end with two sides still certain they are in the right. Who is correct? Who knows. The Forest Service deems it closed. Perhaps it would be better if the Forest Service actually termed it "Hike at own risk." While I may say I have the right to be there due to deeded rights, I am not about to argue with a man armed with a shotgun :o

Brian

forestgnome
03-13-2007, 08:34 PM
Has a rerouting of the trail, to bypass this land, been considered? Perhaps that is just another president that should not be set. It's a complicated and murky issue. I understand the distaste for letting the landowner get away with having his easement but not honoring it, but in this case I think the best thing is to let it go for now. I think we can do great harm to our access to other areas by pushing for what really is our right in this case. It may be an injustice, but staying off the trail would be pragmatic, IMO. Choose your battles.

Is Cabot Trail really that important, or is it just the shortest route to a list peak? If it was not the shortest route to a list peak, how many people would push the issue?

If AMC is really doing group hikes on the trail, that is very irresponsible, considering the possible conflicts. That's not my idea of guidance.

Bunnel Notch Trail is wonderful. I first hiked it about ten years ago, and it was almost bushwacking. The was moose sign everywhere and I startled a couple moose about half-way up. The area has lots of cherry, and when I hiked it they were in full blossom. It was gorgeous. It's a special place. I'm sure it's much easier to follow now. I highly recommend this trail during cherry blossom time, whenever that is, maybe early May. I'm thinking of hiking this trail up, then bushwacking down through the West Branch drainage area.

Happy Trails :)

David Metsky
03-13-2007, 09:23 PM
If AMC is really doing group hikes on the trail, that is very irresponsible, considering the possible conflicts. That's not my idea of guidance.

Just to reiterate the point from previous threads; the AMC is not a single monolithic organizations. AMC corporate (Joy St) has very little day-to-day control over the 1000's of chapter volunteers and their trips. There is no single organizational structure which polices trips. Good or bad, that is the state of things today and for the foreseeable future.

-dave-

forestgnome
03-14-2007, 05:55 AM
Good point; good to note that.

Anyone acting as a guide should not be taking anyone who is seeking guidance up that trail. It would be a disservice to those being guided, possibly leading them into conflict, and it would show disrespect for the USFS. What is the point of having a guide?

The spirit on this trail must be horrible, anyway. Wouldn't a hiker be wondering all day if conflict awaits near the end of the hike? Yuk...

Happy Trails :)

dug
03-14-2007, 07:12 AM
Has a rerouting of the trail, to bypass this land, been considered? Perhaps that is just another president that should not be set. It's a complicated and murky issue. I understand the distaste for letting the landowner get away with having his easement but not honoring it, but in this case I think the best thing is to let it go for now. I think we can do great harm to our access to other areas by pushing for what really is our right in this case. It may be an injustice, but staying off the trail would be pragmatic, IMO. Choose your battles.

Is Cabot Trail really that important, or is it just the shortest route to a list peak? If it was not the shortest route to a list peak, how many people would push the issue?

If AMC is really doing group hikes on the trail, that is very irresponsible, considering the possible conflicts. That's not my idea of guidance.

Bunnel Notch Trail is wonderful. I first hiked it about ten years ago, and it was almost bushwacking. The was moose sign everywhere and I startled a couple moose about half-way up. The area has lots of cherry, and when I hiked it they were in full blossom. It was gorgeous. It's a special place. I'm sure it's much easier to follow now. I highly recommend this trail during cherry blossom time, whenever that is, maybe early May. I'm thinking of hiking this trail up, then bushwacking down through the West Branch drainage area.

Happy Trails :)


That's the key. There are two different routes to take already, why push this issue? Just avoid the trail until all parties come to an agreement. Not saying anyone has the legal right to do so, but why even consider pushing the issue? To save a couple of miles?

Stan
03-14-2007, 08:05 AM
Anyone acting as a guide should not be taking anyone who is seeking guidance up that trail. ... What is the point of having a guide?
... Happy Trails :)

If a guide is taking hikers on this trail it should be by arrangement with owner(s), particularly any which have been at the heart of the heat involved with this trail closing. That sort of service is a reason to hire a guide. Same applies to AMC trip leaders.

I think USFS is acting responsibly in it's trail closing absent a better relationship with neighbors, or snowmobilers. As for us innocent bystanders, "... this land is your land, this land is my land ..."

vegematic
03-14-2007, 08:17 AM
Just to reiterate the point from previous threads; the AMC is not a single monolithic organizations. AMC corporate (Joy St) has very little day-to-day control over the 1000's of chapter volunteers and their trips. There is no single organizational structure which polices trips. Good or bad, that is the state of things today and for the foreseeable future.

-dave-

Thank you for clarifying that, Dave. I was a bit worried when I mentioned AMC in my post that it would re-ignite that little fire.

A thought: Since this question/issue keeps coming up might it make sense to post a sticky in New England Q&A with the most basic facts of the situation and perhaps links to some of the discussion threads?

-vegematic

TroutBumNH
03-14-2007, 08:32 AM
I have found that a lot of 'less avid than most board member' hikers tend to have older WMG's or other guidebooks w/o the most recent info.

I'm not giving anyone a pass for not being up to date on trail info... but I can imagine that many arrive at the trailhead/parking area and just go for it. When I went up last year, I'm pretty confident two women I met were just completely clueless rather than aware of having taken a side in a land-use issue...

dug
03-14-2007, 08:46 AM
Good points, but my 1999(?) edition mentions it's closed. There is no trail sign. How would even know they were at the right spot? :cool:

RoySwkr
03-14-2007, 02:37 PM
This will go round and round, it always does.
The fact is that nobody knows whether the trail is legally closed and nobody will until a court rules on it.

Telling people that if they use this trail they may be accosted by an angry landowner who wishes the trail was closed is useful information. Telling people that the trail is legally closed is potentially incorrect and I will continue to react to this statement every time you persist in making it. Why not just post a pointer to the previous discussion and save us both time?

I'm not sure why you are so hot on this issue but in my case I hate to see intimidation succeed. There are non-violent methods of settling this matter. If this guy can prove to a court that he has the legal right to prevent passage, I will be the first to encourage others to stay off.


Has a rerouting of the trail, to bypass this land, been considered?

Is Cabot Trail really that important, or is it just the shortest route to a list peak? If it was not the shortest route to a list peak, how many people would push the issue?

I believe a local group looked for a bypass but couldn't find an easy one. If you want a long bypass, there are 2 other trails :-)

I have hiked all 3 trails up Cabot (plus some bushwhacks) and believe the Mt Cabot Trail is the most suitable for non-peakbaggers. The N approach is unplowed in winter hence too long, the E approach is an hour longer drive each way for most people particularly Lancaster residents. And if everybody went that way, it would lose the very characteristics that FG appreaciates. It is probably locals more than peakbaggers that want this trail usable.



I think USFS is acting responsibly in it's trail closing absent a better relationship with neighbors, or snowmobilers.
The problem is that the USFS has a national policy not to push for access rights, in Colorado somebody built a house in the middle of a trail and the FS did nothing. This only encourages spurious claims. Near Bethel ME, a property owner got tired of maintaining his driveway and insisted he had the right to instead use a USFS gated road including ATVs in mud season, and he got them to agree, although this road is deemed too fragile to allow anybody else to use it. What is the sense of having public lands if they are given away to any lowlife who wants them?


There is no trail sign. How would even know they were at the right spot?
The person whose land the sign is on apparently wants the trail open because Trail Closed signs there vanish immediately while the trailhead sign comes & goes

Some people have maps, and can read them

Double Bow
03-14-2007, 03:05 PM
Look, it's like this:

The USFS says that this trail is closed. They have chosen to close the portion of the trail that they in the past have maintained. Regardless of their reason for this, the fact remains that the trail is closed. Period.

If someone wants to know whether the trail is open or closed, the answer it that it is closed. All the crying about it on a BBS isn't going to reopen this trail. If you want to change the status of the trail, appeal directly to the USFS. If you don't care about the USFS regulations, then hike the trail at your own risk and stop whining about its current status. It like "Hotel California", an old song that's overplayed. :rolleyes:

dug
03-14-2007, 03:54 PM
Roy,

Nothing personal here. I am just saying that I do know a few landowners whose property borders the WMNF. They've had their driveways parked in front of, preventing access from their homes. They've had people camping on their property. Some are curious to see if hikers will continue to thwart the efforts of this individual -right or wrong- and may want to pursue matters themselves. As a hiking community, we all lose.

I don't see where I, at least, used the term legally closed. But, from the USFS perspective, which is all that really matters, the consider it closed.

The AMC maps, by the way, don't show the trail access to the road ;)

Again, nothing personal, just reporting the news.

RoySwkr
03-15-2007, 11:47 AM
I am just saying that I do know a few landowners whose property borders the WMNF. They've had their driveways parked in front of, preventing access from their homes. They've had people camping on their property. Some are curious to see if hikers will continue to thwart the efforts of this individual -right or wrong- and may want to pursue matters themselves. As a hiking community, we all lose.
The WMNF used to have what I consider a "Bad Neighbor" policy which consisted in part of gating roads right at the property boundary as shown by red blazes such that people visiting the Forest for any purpose were in effect required to turn around and park on the adjacent private property, leading to littering and other land damage. I made specific objection to this policy in my comments to the 1980s? Forest Plan and they might actually have listened as I notice that many gates are now being set back to minimize this effect. If this is the issue, maybe they should talk to the local district. In the past, hiking maps for NH have not included land ownership boundaries which were routine in other areas so visitors might legitimately not have known whose land it was, fortunately this is now on the WMG maps. Often landowners are happy to have you if you park where they suggest and avoid camping, hunting, etc. (This surprises me with the current fears of liability but maybe they are glad to see folks besides themselves see their land as special.) One interesting example is the former Mt Cabot situation where the owner actually signed a parking spot so people would park out of his way.

I agree with you that property owners have the right to keep others off their property, but threatening hikers with violence rather than arrest indicates to me that this individual doesn't care about the law but only his wishes. And if we let anybody who lives near the Forest prevent access whether or not they have the legal right to, we will lose a lot more of our public lands.

RoySwkr
03-15-2007, 11:54 AM
The USFS says that this trail is closed. They have chosen to close the portion of the trail that they in the past have maintained. Regardless of their reason for this, the fact remains that the trail is closed. Period.

Do you have any actual evidence of this (say a link to a press release on the WMNF web page) or is it just wishful thinking on your part? The last time I climbed Cabot, I went up from the fish hatchery but went down the old trail to the stream crossing to see what shape it was in. There were no postings about the trail being closed and it was in better repair and more heavily used than the Bunnell Notch Trail that I came up.



If someone wants to know whether the trail is open or closed, the answer it that it is closed.

I would like to ask the moderators to ban from this group the next person who claims that the trail is closed (or open) without providing some sort of proof. The truth is that we don't know for sure. People who ask a question on this website deserve accurate answers, not personal fantasies. To paraphrase Mr. Bow "All the crying about it on a BBS isn't going to make it so."

I wish I knew why some people were so anxious to declare this trail closed. Nobody is forcing you to hike it if you don't want to (just as I haven't hiked the private section since the controversy arose), but you should allow others to make their own decisions based on accurate information rather than your personal biases.



If you don't care about the USFS regulations, then hike the trail at your own risk and stop whining about its current status.
Even the Owls Head Path which the FS has declared officially closed you are allowed to hike, just not to maintain.

If you can produce any scintilla of evidence that the WMNF has forbidden hiking on the part of the trail on NF land, I will stand corrected. And while the FS can remove from their trail inventory that part of the trail that is not on their land, they cannot legally close it any more than they can close the Wapack Trail.

Snowflea
03-15-2007, 12:12 PM
I swore I'd never post on this topic again :rolleyes: :o but I agree with Roy here and want to support his argument.

Also, I DO possess a copy of the Right-of-Way from the Lancaster town clerk's office...

vegematic
03-15-2007, 12:44 PM
Also, I DO possess a copy of the Right-of-Way from the Lancaster town clerk's office...

Interesting. I wonder if there are different "degrees" of Rights of Way. Can you find anything in the wording of the copy you hold that either supports or contradicts what follows?

While Stinkyfeet was posting, I was on the phone to Andro. Asst. Ranger, Dave Neely, asking for the official word on the Mt. Cabot Trail situation. He said that the landowner contacted the WMNF some years ago saying that he had posted his land and asked them to remove trail signage and stop promoting the trail. The ranger I spoke with said that WMNF *DOES NOT* have a legal RoW or trail corridor accross the property in question, and that hikers that use that portion of trail are, by legal standards, trespassing.

Neely said that steps have not been taken by WMNF to brush in and revegetate the part of the trail crossing private property in hopes that access can be restored in the future. Neely said that the FS does not have anything to negotiate with or offer the landowner, so future access would require a change of position on the landowner's part (or, presumably, a change of land ownership).

I asked about efforts to reroute the trail around the property. Neely said that they examined the feasibility of a reroute in 2000-2001 and deemed it not feasible.

Dave Neely can be contacted at 603-466-2713 X224

-vegematic

jjmcgo
03-15-2007, 04:21 PM
Our federal tax money paid for this easement and the relevant federal organization, the USFS, lacks the resolve to enforce it.
The person I most disagree with on this thread is the one who said we should "respect" the USFS. Cowardice and or negligence is never deserving of respect.
As Roy has pointed out, the landowner has lost in every legal forum.
VFTT, an an entity, is not the proper group to challenge this matter but a loose group of individuals, behaving properly at all times, needs to use the trail constantly until there is a police-reportable confrontation (he's not going to shoot you).
After that, the confronted individuals need to file a police report and a lawsuit against the USFS.
Actually, the group needs better legal advice than that given here, perhaps something along the lines of what the ACLU gives out as the proper way to answer when stopped at a DUI roundup, every response an applicable legal response, oh, and tape-record it surreptitiously.
That man is getting exclusive use of land-in-common that we paid for! We must make the government exercise its responsibility.
The course of action recommended by others, don't push things, will only embolden more landowners to close land covered by similar easements.

Double Bow
03-15-2007, 04:49 PM
Well Mr. Schweiker, it seems someone DOES know for sure whether the trail is open or closed. It's the USFS and they have shared that information in multiple ways through the years even though press releases aren't issued to state long standing facts, Roy. Now you have the name and phone number for a ranger who says that the WMNF doesn't have a right of way for the trail. If you think he's lying or making that up, you can feel free to take a minute from your postulating and give him a call. As I said in my earlier post:


If you want to change the status of the trail, appeal directly to the USFS.

You incorrectly assumed that I do not want this trail to be open. This simply is not true. I wish this situation was resolved. However, as a guide, I feel the need to obey USFS rules as much as I can and I won't go up that trail until it has been officially reopened.

Perhaps it is people who try to muddy the waters in an effort to justify their rulebreaking that are the ones who should be banned.

arghman
03-15-2007, 04:52 PM
sigh. sometimes it's not enough to be right.

I support Roy on principle (you should see the land use errors & conflicts just in my town! some battles are worth fighting for) but I'm not going to hike the trail.

I do have a vague interest in looking at documentation on trail right-of-ways from the public road to the edge of the WMNF property -- so if someone can post a book & page # from the Coos Cty Registry of Deeds, then we can all look at it http://www.nhdeeds.com/coos/web/start.htm.

Or a link to a USFS policy statement saying the Mt Cabot Trail (whether over their right-of-way, if it exists, or over a private landowner's property) is considered closed by them & they strongly discourage use. (vegematic's post is enough for me to believe this is true with high confidence, say 99% -- enough not to hike it for the sake of recreation, but not enough to bet money on it; governments can be internally inconsistent sometimes...)

otherwise the arguments on both sides are kind of tiresome.

Double Bow
03-15-2007, 04:53 PM
otherwise the arguments on both sides are kind of tiresome.

Like I said, Hotel California...

Dr. Dasypodidae
03-15-2007, 05:46 PM
[QUOTE=jjmcgo]As Roy has pointed out, the landowner has lost in every legal forum.
VFTT, an an entity, is not the proper group to challenge this matter but a loose group of individuals, behaving properly at all times, needs to use the trail constantly until there is a police-reportable confrontation (he's not going to shoot you).
After that, the confronted individuals need to file a police report and a lawsuit against the USFS.
QUOTE]

The disgruntled landowner has pointed a gun at people, according to the neighbor above, who won his use of the right-away in court, although it cost him over $600 in legal fees (sorry, I forget the names of the two landowners). But, I am not sure I wish to confront the landowner and his gun to proove a legal point; moreover, there is no guarantee that he would not shoot you. I have seen Stinkyfeet's copy (now in Ventura, California (?), speaking of the old song California :) ) of the deeded right-away, although I am not sure that the USFS has seen it. Mats had to break out that section of trail this past Tuesday on his NH4s winter record attempt, to save the long drive around to the Berlin Fish Hatchery and back. This trail is such a mess of eroded and muddy gullies, I would not care to hike it again, except in the winter, to save driving extra miles and adding more CO2 to the atmosphere (see previous global warming thread :) ).

dug
03-15-2007, 06:05 PM
This will go round and round, it always does. The USFS deemed it closed. Draw your own conclusions.

:mad:


Like I said....

spongebob
03-15-2007, 06:42 PM
I'm just waiting for the present owner to put a cap in one of your as*es. Maybe I can put some brownies and beer on his land in the disputed land easement, so HarryK gets what he deserves.

When that dude goes to jail, he will have to sell the land to pay for legal fees. Then one of us can buy the land, and be done with this crap. Maybe open the house as a a bed and breakfast or a hotel, and name it Hotel California.

I don't consider this trail open or closed it is just lost. And should be on the White Mountains Lost Trails Project (http://www.whitemountainlosttrails.com/TheTrails.aspx) website. Since the trail doesn't exist, maybe it is considered an easy bushwack, or maybe the guy will whack you mob style. Either way don't posthole.

forestgnome
03-15-2007, 07:48 PM
I'll heed the grown-ups on this issue, the USFS. They are knowledgable on these issues. Until I see current documentation of an easement, I'll assume that the USFS is not lying when they say that no right-of-way exists.

Happy Trails :)

jjmcgo
03-15-2007, 07:58 PM
could scan a copy of that easement and post a link. Then we could send a copy to Mr. Neely for further assessment of the situation.
And another copy to a lawyer.
The first time I saw this discussion, about three years ago, the patient ones held sway then as now, but the situation was "play nice and things will get better."
Now, the trail is off the map.

Stan
03-16-2007, 09:22 AM
Let's assume that the USFS has an easement, which is a bone of contention, but let's assume they do have one. The holder of an easement has certain rights with respect to that easment and it is a fair legal question as to what those rights are and to whom those rights are transferable and under what circumstances.

Now, let's further assume that USFS has legal rights for itself and its assigns etc. (that's us innocent bystanding taxpayers chomping at the bit to hike on that easement) and that it doesn't choose to share those rights at some point in time, which it is entitled to do, albeit at the risk of pissing off said assigns.

So why would someone with a legal right choose not to fully enjoy it and share it? It would strike me as a sound policy choice not to ram things down the throats of those who have granted easements. That could make the USFS much less welcome next time they knock on someone's door seeking to acquire an easement. There are times and places to ram things but maybe the USFS has decided this is not the time nor place.

Having an ugly battle over this easement might make procurement of new ones more difficult, say along the COHOS trail for example. We all need to be good neighbors and respect landowners.

dug
03-16-2007, 12:33 PM
could scan a copy of that easement and post a link. Then we could send a copy to Mr. Neely for further assessment of the situation.
And another copy to a lawyer.
The first time I saw this discussion, about three years ago, the patient ones held sway then as now, but the situation was "play nice and things will get better."
Now, the trail is off the map.

Seems like an awful lot of work and expense to prove someone is right or wrong, when the trail isn't even needed.....

bikehikeskifish
03-16-2007, 01:49 PM
If I understand this correctly, taxpayers (You and I) paid for an easement, which taxpayers (You and I) can no longer enjoy. The taxpayers (You and I) deserve some compensation ("We want our money back".)

If as a matter of policy the USFS does not chose to defend said easements (as I understand it), what is to stop every landowner from simply taking advantage of that and the taxpayers (You and I) losing ALL the easements we paid for?

It's not a matter of whether or not the trail is needed. It's a matter of getting what we rightfully paid for.

Tim

David Metsky
03-16-2007, 02:32 PM
It's not a matter of whether or not the trail is needed. It's a matter of getting what we rightfully paid for.
But this entire discussion takes place in the context of the north country (and other areas of the US) where local acceptance of the USFS and its policies are often contentious. You could easily win the battle (get this easement enforced) and lose the war (no more easements ever, voluntary trail access revoked).

Having dealt with this in the 1980's around getting easements for the AT I can tell you that people have short fuses and long memories when it comes to land. While I'm in general supportive of enforcing easements that have been paid for, it's rarely that simple. Logic and law is important. Community opinions are also important. It's rarely so cut and dried as things first appear.

-dave-

forestgnome
03-16-2007, 06:04 PM
Dittoes...

Plus, many here have assumed that an easement exists. I still haven't seen one. How hard is it to scan and post a document that exists for public record?

RoySwkr
03-18-2007, 04:24 PM
so if someone can post a book & page # from the Coos Cty Registry of Deeds, then we can all look at it http://www.nhdeeds.com/coos/web/start.htm.

I had already done that, only the newer stuff is online

The Registry is in Lancaster, NH and if somebody would like to acquire a hard copy I'd get it scanned.

Ranger Neely says that the USFS has no r-o-w which is what I expected, I assume it to be a general amorphous r-o-w which is why there is no definitive answer as to whether it applies to hikers and not just to abutters.

Note however that Mr. Neely said that the FS has not closed the portion on FS land so at least one member of this group has definitively proved that he has no clue what he is talking about.

Of the 4 Lancaster residents I have talked to, all 4 believe the landowner is in the wrong. Does anybody else have any experience with Lancaster residents?

Snowflea
03-19-2007, 10:28 AM
Sorry for the delay in responding. I was playin' in the woods x 4 days. :D

Vegematic & others, the deeds in question are readily available at the Lancaster Office of Records (or whatever they call it). Dr. D is correct that my copies now reside with me in Ventura, CA. :cool: I do not have scanning capability.

When I procured my copies 3-4 years ago, the gals at the Records Office agreed that the ROW was valid in their opinions but quickly and readily admitted that they "weren't lawyers or anything."

I have met the landowner in question. (No, he wasn't pointing a gun at me; it was during Cave Dog's '02 NH 4 speed record. CD received special permission from the landowner to access the trail.) "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"... so I won't :(

I have no personal interest in the Mt. Cabot Trail at this point, never intending to hike it again (and agree w/Dr. D that the trail is a mess)! It's a matter of principle IMHO, and I merely wanted to support what Roy was saying.

Stinkyfeet

PS: FWIW, in regard to Dave's post, local acceptance of USFS policies is contentious in A LOT of areas across the country; this issue isn't confined to the Northeast.

dug
03-19-2007, 11:30 AM
Note however that Mr. Neely said that the FS has not closed the portion on FS land so at least one member of this group has definitively proved that he has no clue what he is talking about.



So much for not making it personal......

sardog1
03-19-2007, 12:44 PM
Oh, I'm gonna regret this, but just like Frankland I can't control myself. From Chapter 11 of The Hound of the Baskervilles:

Luck had been against us again and again in this inquiry, but now at last it came to my aid. And the messenger of good fortune was none other than Mr. Frankland, who was standing, gray-whiskered and red-faced, outside the gate of his garden, which opened on to the highroad along which I travelled.

"Good-day, Dr. Watson," cried he with unwonted good humour, "you must really give your horses a rest and come in to have a glass of wine and to congratulate me."

My feelings towards him were very far from being friendly after what I had heard of his treatment of his daughter, but I was anxious to send Perkins and the wagonette home, and the opportunity was a good one. I alighted and sent a message to Sir Henry that I should walk over in time for dinner. Then I followed Frankland into his dining-room.

"It is a great day for me, sir--one of the red-letter days of my life," he cried with many chuckles. "I have brought off a double event. I mean to teach them in these parts that law is law, and that there is a man here who does not fear to invoke it. I have established a right of way through the centre of old Middleton's park, slap across it, sir, within a hundred yards of his own front door. What do you think of that? We'll teach these magnates that they cannot ride roughshod over the rights of the commoners, confound them! And I've closed the wood where the Fernworthy folk used to picnic. These infernal people seem to think that there are no rights of property, and that they can swarm where they like with their papers and their bottles. Both cases decided Dr. Watson, and both in my favour. I haven't had such a day since I had Sir John Morland for trespass because he shot in his own warren."

"How on earth did you do that?"

"Look it up in the books, sir. It will repay reading--Frankland v. Morland, Court of Queen's Bench. It cost me 200 pounds, but I got my verdict."

"Did it do you any good?"

"None, sir, none. I am proud to say that I had no interest in the matter. I act entirely from a sense of public duty. I have no doubt, for example, that the Fernworthy people will burn me in effigy tonight. I told the police last time they did it that they should stop these disgraceful exhibitions. The County Constabulary is in a scandalous state, sir, and it has not afforded me the protection to which I am entitled. The case of Frankland v. Regina will bring the matter before the attention of the public."

RoySwkr
07-03-2007, 07:27 PM
I was finally in Lancaster on a weekday and looked into the Mt Cabot Trail situation. First I looked at the tax map at the Town Hall, and found that the trail ("Gov't Trail" on the map) does not run across the middle of any large tracts but rather appears to be along a range line dividing them. It does run across the middle of one tiny lot but its owner recognizes the trail right-of-way. See Plan 418B. (Go to http://www.nhdeeds.com/coos/web/start.htm , click on "Search County Records" at left, read and click "Accept Agreement", type 418B into Plan Number, then click to view document.)

Then I spent a couple hours at the registry of deeds. The landowner in question is very active in the real estate business, with subdivisions in the N, W, and center of town, so I didn't get as far back into the records as I'd have liked. It appears that the Mt. Cabot Trail was laid out as a 3-rod right-of-way with each abutter owning to the middle, just like most town roads. What was most peculiar was that 2 of the deeds written to LIQ contained a phrase similar to "This conveyance is also subject to rights in favor of third parties to the use of the Cabot Trail, so-called." This neither grants nor denies rights to anybody and hence is of no legal effect except to warn that such rights presumably exist. See Book 598, pages 126-127. (Although I read these on a computer screen at the registry they are not yet available online, but with these numbers you can find them quickly there.)

The result is exactly what I expected - the situation is ambiguous and will ultimately need to be settled in court. However the landowner certainly was warned that others may have legal use of the trail and his attempts to close it by force may indicate that he believes he can't do so by legal means. I would think that even property rights advocates would decry this land-grab rather than supporting it.

I still suggest that hikers not use this trail unless they are willing to risk confrontation. I sincerely doubt that you will be prosecuted since he won't risk a test case, but I can't guarantee that you won't be shot.