View Full Version : Mt. Cabot & York Pond Trails access question 2/9/2013

02-09-2013, 02:02 PM
"Crane," the ower of the land at the base of the old Mt. Cabot Trail and York Pond Trail, has "No Trepassing" signs up again. (I hiked the Mt. Cabot Trail a year ago, and the signs were all down.)

I was once told that he didn't have a legal right to stop access, as access was deeded. (This came from a neighbor up the road, who invited us to park on his land for a bushwhack.)

I've got some redlining to do (York Pond Tr.)... and am looking at a bushwhack to get the west section of York Pond Tr., or parking at the old trailhead anyway....

Just curious if anyone in this group knows the true story.

Beth Zimmer
btzimr at gmail dot com

Kevin Rooney
02-09-2013, 02:22 PM
Beth -

Just to be clear - I don't think the landowner in question owns the land immediately at the beginning of the Mt Cabot Trail. However, it's necessary to cross his land on the way to Cabot. Apparently there is a deeded right-of-way giving the public access to cross the land. I had a conversation with one of the landowners at the bottom of the trail about 10 years, and was told the landowner in question asked the USFS for permission to build a snowmobile trail over land under their jurisdiction. They declined, and the local snowmobile club supported their decision - apparently they felt that regardless of ownership, the proposed location was not a good choice for a trail. At that point the landowner began posting the No Trespassing signs on the Mt Cabot Trail. It's my understanding the USFS does not contest disputed rights-of-way, and declared the trail officially closed, and the AMC followed suit. I was told that Steve Smith no longer lists the trail in the latest edition of WMG, but don't know if that is correct or not. I've not had an opportunity to talk with adjoining landowers in recent years, and I don't know whether the local law enforcement types would arrest/issue a citation if requested to.

So ... are red-liners required to hike officially closed trails? Finally - for what it's worth - a couple of weeks ago on a remarkably cold day a large group of us did Cabot via Bunnell Notch, and on the way by the jct with the Cabot Trail it appeared that it has seen little recent use.

02-09-2013, 02:54 PM
Someone on VFTT previously had reported researching the deeds for this area and determined that the right of way to the USFS property is valid for public use (this would be typical for FS deeds). There are or were camps on this old logging road that also had access so there appears to be shared access at least to the land owners. I am not sure if the jefferson boy scouts still have cabin in there but they did for many years and this route was a means of access.
The owner may be confused thinking that he can somehow affirm prescriptive rights (aka squatters rights) by posting the area to reassert his rights but I expect that is probably not going to work.

Prior USFS administrators had reportedly decided that the bad publicity associated with dealing with the situation is not worth it when there are two other trails accessing cabot. When I assisted blazing the Kilkenny ridge trail there was discussion by the FS ranger that the ultimate plan once the KRT was in place was to close all the side trails to make the KRT more remote. I am not sure if this trail was one of them but both Bunnel and York Pond were not maintained for several years in anticipation of this closure but I expect at some point when the decision was made to rebuild Bunnel Notch trail due to a timber cut they decided to keep it open. It is interesting that the west side of the York Pond trail is still active as a few years back it was signed as closed just after the KRT junction.

Ultimately, if you have deep pockets and want to create a issue with an individual who is reportedly unstable and carries a shotgun, that is your perogative, and if the law gets involved you probably ultimately will win the case. This will all be financed out of your pocket. I believe that the USFS has a long range view that the problematical owner will eventually no longer be an issue. Surprisingly this has been going on for at least 10 years.

Do note, over the years the owner (or prior owners) have had logging equipment vandalized most likely by people accessing the equipment via the trail, this occured 20 plus years ago and I beleive the owner posted no trespassing signs then. I believe they may have been present when I first climbed via this trail 30 plus years ago. It also has also been reported that the owner claims to have been lied to by past USFS employees on commitments to open up the area to snowmobiling. Either Bunnel Notch or York Notch would both be excellent east west snowmachine routes as the closest one is quite a distance north or via the Pond of safety area to the south.I believe that the kilkennies are in a district that does not allow snowmachine trails so any change would have to be incorporated in the periodic forest service management plans.

Good luck on finding an official declaration on the legality of public access. I dont think it exists.

02-09-2013, 03:17 PM
if you...want to create a issue with an individual who is reportedly unstable and carries a shotgun, that is your perogative.

Well ~ since you put it THAT way..... :)

02-09-2013, 03:31 PM
One of the things I generally recommend to visitors to the region is not to "p**s off the locals". The visitor may think they are right but with million plus acres of land and lots of trail to chose from why take your chances with a known bad actor. Carl Drega was regarded as local who was upset by zoning ordinances until he showed up armed and shot 4 people. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Drega

02-09-2013, 04:53 PM
Three of us hiked York Pond trail back in December. We did it as an "out and back" from Fish Hatchery side, as not to be on private property, cross any "No Trespassing" signs or be on a closed trail......knowing that the landowner isn't always the nicest guy. We figured with all the miles we have hiked redlining.........what's a couple more? It is pretty clear when you come to the WMNF/private property line. There is an old info display on the old train/logging works in Kilkenny area and about 200 yrds past that is the boundary marker.

So ... are red-liners required to hike officially closed trails? No, but York Pond from Willard Notch is still open..........just not maintained down to the private property line.

02-09-2013, 05:17 PM
Last time I was there the trail was posted as closed but the signs did not meet legal posting guidelines as they did not contain the name of the owner, and the postings only said "This trail not open to Mt Cabot" so I used a bushwhack route through the adjoining woods. [Hmm - that means I can go to the York Pond Trail?]

I have been to the registry and looked at the deeds and talked to an abutter, I would agree with KR and PB that you probably have the right to use the trail but you might not wish to do it :-)

So ... are red-liners required to hike officially closed trails?

My personal opinion is that I would not say I had hiked all the trails in a certain book unless I had hiked them all, so if a trail is closed I would either need to wait for it to reopen or wait for the next edition which doesn't list it :-) I don't know how many of the alleged completers meet this standard.

It's sort of like hiking the whole A.T. using white blazes only, has anyone ever actually done it? By the time you reach the end, what are the odds that nothing behind you has been relocated hence you've never actually completed the whole white-blaze route?

02-10-2013, 05:50 AM
WIth regards to the AT, if the official trail is closed temporarily when a hiker is on the trail, they do not have to do the closed section. Post Hurricane two years ago, thruhikers could officially skip most of VT and NH and still be considered Thru Hikers per the ATC. When section hiking the AT over a 15 to 20 year period there were many trail relocations and occasional closures. The year after I finally finished, I did one more trip to go pick up the major sections that were closed when I was doing each particular section. As far as I and the ATC is concerned I am a thru hiker and have hiked the entire trail. I have run into folks down south that are obsessed about following every white blaze, but they usually lose that obsession somewheres in Virginia when they realize they have been hiking for a month in one state and have a lot more states to go.

Heck its pretty well documented that Earl Schaefer the first throughhiker did a fair share of blue blazing especially down south.

I still think the only WMG redline that should count is the first edition trails:)

02-10-2013, 03:34 PM
Thanks all. I won't piss off the neighbors.. I know what I'm going to do. :-)

Be well!
Beth Zimmer

Becca M
02-10-2013, 04:49 PM
Hi! Just do the 29th edition - the sections off-limits are not in there - just go from the east side to get to the boundary

Lefty E
02-10-2013, 06:15 PM
Then at the boundary you need to reverse direction or bushwack up to Kilkenny Ridge Trail....?? is this correct??