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Thread: 12,000 Ossippee acres closed

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    12,000 Ossippee acres closed

    Last edited by Andrew; 08-27-2009 at 07:10 PM. Reason: How do I correct title spelling?

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    Senior Member griffin's Avatar
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    (Concord, NH) The New Hampshire Bureau of Trails announces that 12,000 acres in the Ossipee Mountains region have been closed to public use due to irresponsible trail users. The owners of the Chocorua Forestlands have closed the acres under their control to hiking, bicycling, walking, hunting, and fishing until further notice.

    The properties are located north of the Lakes Region Conservation Trust’s Castle in the Clouds property and south and west of Routes 25 and 16. The closure includes popular hiking trails to the summits of Mt. Shaw and Bayle Mountain.

    The property posting was sparked by irresponsible trail development, use, and advertisement, and has been fueled by other landowners noting disrespectful treatment of their properties by summer recreational trail users. The Bureau of Trails, representatives of other State agencies, and advocacy organizations, are meeting with landowners in efforts to get the properties reopened for public use. The meeting will focus on developing ways to better educate the public on the rights of private landowners who allow public recreational use of their lands.

    “We certainly cannot blame the landowners for their decision in this matter,” says Bureau Chief Chris Gamache. “A small percentage of careless users typically causes the majority of problems. In this instance, when the landowner confronted the irresponsible user(s), they chose not to respect the landowner’s rights. We support the landowner’s decision in this matter and will work with them to get public access granted back on these properties.”

    The Bureau of Trails is a part of the NH Division of Parks & Recreation. The division manages over 73 state parks, campgrounds, thousands of miles of trails, historic sites, waysides, and natural areas. The division is part of the Department of Resources and Economic Development. For more information about the Bureau of Trails, please call 603-271-3254 or visit www.nhtrails.org.
    Dang. What the heck were people doing?
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    Senior Member NewHampshire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by griffin View Post
    Dang. What the heck were people doing?
    This ought to give you an idea:

    http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?t=30146

    Brian
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    Senior Member una_dogger's Avatar
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    Sigh..oh well...glad I got to Shaw last fall.
    Last edited by una_dogger; 08-27-2009 at 09:38 PM.
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    Senior Member TDawg's Avatar
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    This is unfortunate. Could be a kidney punch to the 52 WAV list.

    Can you still access Shaw or only a couple routes off limits?

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    Senior Member Amicus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TDawg View Post
    Can you still access Shaw or only a couple routes off limits?
    The latter. As you can see by consulting any of the LRCT maps, Shaw can be reached by trails entirely within their property.

    I know some of the facts behind this but by no means all of them. Unless and until I learn more, I'm not going to comment on this, except to hope that those who know even less about this situation than I do will refrain from ignorant scapegoating.
    Last edited by Amicus; 08-27-2009 at 11:30 PM.

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    It is really a shame. I hope it get's worked out soon. I enjoyed the Shaw hike and was hoping to get back there again.
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    Senior Member stopher's Avatar
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    I had the opportunity to speak with a representative of Chocorua Forestlands three days ago. According to him, the main reason for the closure can be found in the thread linked to above by NewHampshire. The good news is that our discussion centered on how the Chocorua Forestlands and the other 3000+ acres recently posted in the Ossipees can be reopened for enjoyment of the public. I suggested that the (partial) solution involves continuous outreach and education, and that signboards at primary entry points may help.

    There is a minority in the hiking community that needs to understand a few basic rules of etiquette and courtesy:
    • Don't park in private driveways or woods roads without explicit permission.
      Respect closed areas/no tresspassing signs. There are many landowners who close some of their property for management reasons but leave the rest open for public enjoyment.
      Don't use flagging to mark routes. But if you feel you must, use it sparingly and take it down the same day on your way out.
      Don't clear campsites or build fire rings. Request and receive explicit permission before camping on private property.
      Although the land owner will probably appreciate removal of fallen branches on established trails, any other trail maintenance should be cleared with the landowner.
      Don't build new trails.
      Don't advertise/promote anything on a property without receiving explicit permission from the landowner. This general rule gets a little tricky now that we have the internet, but many of us feel that the rule has recently been bent bent too far concerning the Ossipee Mountains.
      If a landowner asks you to cease any activity on his/her property, respect their wishes.

    This is all basic, common sense. I have been assured by most of the Ossipee Mountain landowners who have recently closed their property that they would rather continue the long tradition of public access. I believe they will all be reading this thread. Opinions expressed and solutions offered in this thread will influence their ultimate decisions and actions.
    Last edited by stopher; 08-28-2009 at 08:46 AM. Reason: clarification concerning trail maintenance.
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    Senior Member BobC's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update, Stopher. I've only recently hiked in the Ossippees's, to Mt. Shaw, but had hoped to do more in that area sometime. So this is a really sad day. I agree that the basic rules of etiquette and courtesy as you listed should be followed by everyone. But regarding the Trail Bandit map, what can we do now that it's out there? I purchased a copy of this map myself, not realizing the issues regarding private property. I certainly don't want to offend any landowners though. I sincerely hope this situation can somehow be resolved to their satisfaction.

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    Poobah Emeritus darren's Avatar
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    Wow, maybe some people now understand what the word "private" in "private land" means.

    Respect is the first word of the day. Use it and get leeway in return. That should be common sense.

    - darren
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    Senior Member BobC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darren View Post
    Wow, maybe some people now understand what the word "private" in "private land" means.

    Respect is the first word of the day. Use it and get leeway in return. That should be common sense.

    - darren
    The trouble with that, I fear, is that the people that already understood it were not causing problems in the first place, and the people that had to be told just won't listen anyway. I'd like to think that the former includes 95% of the people on this forum....

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    Senior Member chomp's Avatar
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    I wonder if this announcement is going to make Rocket remove this unauthorized map from his website:

    link deleted

    Currently, this map contains the Larcom Trail, which has been closed to the public. Now it contains several trails that are closed to the public. How many more trails need to be closed before this map goes away???
    Last edited by darren; 09-03-2009 at 07:38 AM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member stopher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chomp View Post
    How many more trails need to be closed before this map goes away???
    This is certainly a bone of contention with the landowners. My own admittedly pessimistic opinion is that it’s a little late to be closing the barn door. However, removing the map(s) from the internet and witholding them from commercial distribution would be construed as an act of good faith.
    stopher will become infamous soon enough.

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    Senior Member TEO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stopher View Post
    Don't use flagging to mark routes. But if you feel you must, use it sparingly and take it down the same day on your way out.
    I think we need to stop using "if you feel you must" in regards to flagging. There is absolutely no reason for a hiker to be using flagging. Plain and simple, it is littering.

  15. #15
    Senior Member --M.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stopher View Post
    This is certainly a bone of contention with the landowners. My own admittedly pessimistic opinion is that it’s a little late to be closing the barn door. However, removing the map(s) from the internet and witholding them from commercial distribution would be construed as an act of good faith.

    Wasn't there a rather full discussion of the meaning of 'good faith' in May? Why wasn't the map pulled from distribution then? What is the current disposition of the mapmaker (et al?) toward the landowners? Wasn't there discussion of reconciliation, mediation, progress between the landowners and the hiking community? Did any of that happen? Is the dispute ongoing and continuing, or have the parties involved come to agreement as to the meaning of the term 'private property'? Can anyone familiar with the situation comment on what happened between May and the posting of this announcement? It seems to have come without any intervening discussion. What will need to happen before the landowners feel it appropriate to reopen their land, if ever? Have the landowners made any comments about individual hikers being welcome to seek approval for individual trips, or are the owners communicating a new status-quo?

    Thank you to all who have worked to improve an unacceptable situation.

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