Private Property & Silver Peak Wilderness

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Bargain hunter

Re: Private Property & Silver Peak Wilderness

Post by Bargain hunter »

According to k vandevere:

“Her driveway does not provide access to public land that cannot be accessed more easily in other ways.”

This is not true. If you look closely at property boundaries and the northern gate along the plaskett rd you should see that the gate guards a small corner of private property. Beyond that corner of private property the road passes thru 100s of ft of flat campable forest service land. Don’t take my word for it, look at any decent online map. That being said, it would not be difficult to bushwhack around the gate while staying on fs land to Access the “gated” forest service land
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Re: Private Property & Silver Peak Wilderness

Post by bigsurkate »

Adam, the man who owned it before me died in 1974, and the estate did nothing with it, other than to note when the USFS put up a campsite up here, an offer to charge $1 a year. The USFS declined, and campsite removed. The USFS was confused about its own boundaries, and did not realize that this piece was private property. The estate sold the land to me in 1994. The estate did not care if people came through, even though they could have kept them out.

Plaskett Ridge Rd. was built by Sy Plaskett during WWII. Only the first 1.3 miles have ever been "dedicated." Never a USFS road, who does not maintain it, and no easement through private property. I did a lot of research on this road, access, rights of way, etc. before I put up the gates, with USFS approval and surveying as to their positions in 1996 after a very difficult experience with the Santa Barbara Hang Gliders. The USFS were quite chagrined to find they had never applied for an easement while they could, when the estate owned it, or before it, the lawyer, who got it from the original grantee's estate upon his death, as legal fees. This was in the 1930's, before there even was a road. Feel free to contact me privately () for any additional information.

Re: Private Property & Silver Peak Wilderness

Post by AdamT »

Kate I remember we use to be able to drive right by your house to access the South Coast Ridge Road. Then a gate was put up and the access was lost. What's the stroy behind this? Why was it once a public right of way and then not? I understand not wanting people driving through your private property, but why was it open in the first place?
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Re: Private Property & Silver Peak Wilderness

Post by bigsurkate »

First, let me be clear. I have NEVER met a trespasser with a gun. My gun rarely leaves the inside of my home. In 15 years, I have taken it outside on 5 occasions, three of which were for rattlesnakes threatening me or my dogs. Twice, for trespassers, but not initially. Once, they shot off the lock on my gate, and then at my home in the middle of the night while I slept. Just for grins. They were drunk. The second time, I had Humong hunters coming through at 6 am. 4 of them with guns. I met them unarmed, and asked them to leave. When one of them went off into the bushes to hide, I did go get my gun, I admit it, but I never pointed it at them, never threatened them, just had it in plain sight on the seat, and I would do so again, if I had to escort non-English speaking trespassers with guns off my property. I have faced down hunters with guns who threatened to shoot my dogs. I did NOT grab my guns, I called the MCSO.

Other trespassers are very nice, and I, in turn, am very nice. I invite them on to my back deck to see the view, we speak of the area, the beauty, and become friends. Others, I make sure have plenty of water to make it back down. Still others, I help with their map-reading, or lack thereof, skills. It depends. I usually am willing to talk. But if you come at me with attitude, on my property, you will definitely get attitude back. All I've ever asked is that people be respectful of private property. Hunters, drunken partiers, and all the others I have up here due to easy access, as Keith points out, are not as easy to deal with in many cases as hikers. Private property is very clearly marked on the USFS maps of this area. One just has to know how to read a map.

You know, my dogs and I are a lot alike. If we sense danger, the hackles come up, the teeth get barred, and the warning barks are issued. If the stranger is friendly, respectful, and polite, we are likely to lick you to death, and at the very least, demand a lot of attention. We LOVE happy, peaceful people who will pet and play with us. If that is not you, you best learn how to read a map, and pay attention to the signs, because, no, we will not be nice.
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Re: Private Property & Silver Peak Wilderness

Post by AdamW88 »

Indeed people ought to protect private property as they need.

In the case of the Pico Blanco Scout Camp, it is private property and has a specific designated way for the public to hike through. (Unfortunately not well signed). The camp has had trespassing problems, since it is a nice place to stop and look around, especially between the hot, dusty camp road and cardiac hill.

Although its a much different situation than Kate's property, the ranger down there had a policy of instructing passer-bys of the nearest public camps, and if the need any water, etc. Overall just letting people know you are there and that you know they are there helps. Trespassers talk to other trespassers, and they'll learn where to go and where not to.

Anyhow, I myself have trespassed knowingly in the past (shame on me) but don't anymore. I'm sure a few regulars here could fess up to it too.
I've noticed the severity of "No Trespassing" signs seems to make a difference. A sign that says "Remote Video Surveillance" or "Beware of Dogs" could make the difference, and perhaps up in a tree out of reach of the people who remove them.

You are right about posting your complaint here, nearly all hikers I meet in the Northern Santa Lucias read this forum.
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K Vandevere
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Re: Private Property & Silver Peak Wilderness

Post by K Vandevere »

The problems are not caused by people walking across pieces of undeveloped private property. The problems arise when people invade the privacy of residents in unpleasant ways and/or commit acts of vandalism. Very few people, when in town, will walk into a stranger's yard, peer in the windows, pound on the door, set up camp in the front yard or tear down the front fence - but a remarkable number of people will do all these things and more in a rural area. While no one who reads this Forum is likely to behave in this way, it is important to understand that this is at the core of the frustration that people in heavily impacted areas (like the South Coast Ridge) feel. All it takes is a few bad experiences and pretty soon they're looking with suspicion at anyone who approaches their home. We need to understand this.

There have been, and probably still are, people in the Big Sur area who go out of their way to harass and intimidate hikers who've wandered across invisible boundaries onto private property (or who are attempting to use little-traveled public rights of way). That behavior is just as reprehensible as that of the crowd that does donuts in the meadows on the South Coast Ridge. But Kate, however frustrated she may be, is not one of those people. She is not out accosting people in the middle of nowhere. She is sitting on her own front porch and asking people to respect her privacy there. Her driveway does not provide access to public land that cannot be accessed more easily in other ways.

Kate is a woman living alone in an area where a lot of quite unpleasant people go to get drunk and party; and where law enforcement is many hours away. Given these circumstances, I don't think it's too surprising that she would prefer strangers to keep a respectful distance from her home. Is that really too much to ask?
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Re: Private Property & Silver Peak Wilderness

Post by fedak »

Well, as someone who often wanders the nether regions of the Ventana, here's my thoughts:
(And with a initial comment that I understand the frustration with folks that are deliberately flaunting private property rights)

- I haven't a clue where all the various inholdings are and where their boundaries lie. Trail maps of the Ventana are notoriously out of date and most don't enumerate the inholdings and boundary properties anyway.

- There's little consistency- You've got legitimate inholdings like Jack English's plot where he welcomes visitors, abandoned inholdings with questionable ownership, The Pico Blanco BSA camp that is signed "no trespassing" out the yin-yang but allows passage, Pico Blanco itself that is private land but completely unsigned on the wilderness boundary, etc.

- I have no problems obeying posted sinage, but I'm not psychic and if there's no obvious postings then I'm technically not breaking the law and would prefer to be politely asked to leave w/o use of firearms.
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K Vandevere
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Re: Private Property & Silver Peak Wilderness

Post by K Vandevere »

I think you guys are being a little hard on Kate for expressing what is some pretty understandable frustration. The crowd that drives into Kate's neighborhood is a far cry from the crowd that makes the seven-mile hike to Pine Valley. It's not really a comparable situation. The vehicular access available along the South Coast Ridge makes the area a magnet for a lot of people who have zero respect for the land or for its inhabitants (whether human, wild or domesticated). It's a small minority of visitors that cause the problems, but there's still enough of them that the problems are real.

Sure Kate's confrontational language may sometimes rub people the wrong way, but I think she has done the VWA Forum a favor by providing a window into what many South Coast residents are thinking and feeling. And I think we should try to understand that those people do have reasons other than curmudgeonliness for feeling that way. This is not the typical living next to a recreational area experience (unless you live in the middle of Pismo Dunes, or something).
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Re: Private Property & Silver Peak Wilderness

Post by retrosurf »

"...I won't be as nice with the next trespassers."

Do you imagine that by posting your comment here that you have warned
any other prospective trespassers that you will no longer be lenient with
them, and that in the future they will have to deal with your admittedly
dangerous dogs?

A quick google for "kate dog trespassers" shows your blog right at the top
of the list, for now. As a criminal lawyer for the indigent, I am surprised
you would be so imprudent with your comments. They could come back
to bite you later.

I don't trespass and I don't carry a gun when I hike. Reading a letter like
yours makes me think that maybe I should carry a gun.
Be cool

Re: Private Property & Silver Peak Wilderness

Post by Be cool »

I've been a local, experienced backpacker and day hiker in Big Sur, and all over the west coast, TRT, PCT, all of my capable years. Every year you seem to run one a few of these increasingly antagonistic posts out in your blogs including the VWA forum. Indeed you brought up violence FIRST, you opened yourself up to such comments as "guest's". I understand and fully support communicating proper wilderness use to anyone willing to listen, but be wary of your voice.
I think you of all people should realize living in a recreational area will bring lots of enthusiastic visitors, rule breakers (knowing and unknowing), and occasional reckless trekkers. If you don't like it, don't live there.
And YES of course, because you chose to live next to a beautiful national forest, the mindset is that you would not mind being surrounded by the outdoor enthusiasts that you mentioned.
I live near a popular state recreation area, and don't mind tourists walking by, parking nearby and would never threaten violence in any form to anyone who happens to brush my mailbox, stop to smell a flower, or take one extra step onto my driveway.
I have been enjoying the VWA information and most of your contributions in recent years but as the posts are less and less and the information becomes outdated it appears more and more like "Big Sur Kate's" rant and rave page. this isn't a forum for your personal property issues.
It's unfortunate you are already deciding not to be “nice”, because your experiences will not stop, they will only continue. You are surrounded by a shared national recreational area. It sounds stressful for you to live with that kind of paranoia. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of living in such an environment?
I assume living in solitude might provide situations that you need to defend yourself against, but why not support and inform as positively as you can. Why add more unneeded tension to an area ready to embrace recovery? Why?
If your response is one of "You don't understand, you don't LIVE here." That's true I don't, nobody does, all I need to know is my area for my recreational use, it just so happens to surround your property. Just look at cabin in-holder Jack English as an example in Ventana's Pine Valley. A friendly beacon in the middle of the forest offering advice, tea, a snack, and classic tales to all hikers.

I wish you as well as all other tax-paying rightful visitors can enjoy the inspiring and beautiful outdoor experience of Big Sur, and I hope you don't turn into another bitter, self-martyr-type, hermit.

ready-to-enjoy a safe backpacking season,

Be cool.
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