Tresspassers cut two trees down!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by pcwerk, May 3, 2005.

  1. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi all,
    well my wife and MIL have finally landed on their piece of heaven in SE
    Minnesota only to find that some tresspassers have gone way back into
    the fenceline and cut down two fairly large trees! Of course, since we have
    been absent landowners it gave them ample opportunity. I am just hoping
    that now that someone lives there it will stop. When I get there tomorrow
    I will make sure the place is properly posted with "no tresspass" signs.
    The problem is that the previous owner had a "horse trail" that ran all along
    the back of this 35 acre track (and that she kept mowed), but it is big enough to drive a truck through. I vote to just let this grow up so it is not so easily entered, but I don't know if the adjoining neighbor uses it or not. I will go
    and ask them if they use it, and if they mind if we let it grow up. If they say
    they do mind I don't know what action to take from there. I don't want to
    be the new "city slickers" starting trouble.
    Also, do ya'll think I should bother calling the police and making a report? As
    I said, now that someone is there I doubt that it will continue, but you never
    know...
    Lord, with people with that mindset up there I am betting that we are going
    to have quite a few problems come hunting season! (The place is literally
    crawling with deer ;-)
    James in Houston, Tx. (soon to be Houston, MN)
     
  2. electronrider

    electronrider Well-Known Member

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    I grew up in the great white north, in the middle of the woods, so i can relate to your concerns. As a kid, there were over 40 miles of logging roads through all the woods, that all us local kids would ride our horses on. In general, people are a lot more laid back about land that far north, because theres so much wilderness. I would file a report with the local police, just to get the word out that it's not tolerated. Post your no trespassing signs, and definitely talk with the neighbor about coming up with a solution to the back lane problem. I can think of several things that come to mind that would allow you to prevent vehicles from coming through there, but still allow a horse to get by. Good luck, and enjoy! theres nothing like the norhtern midwest in terms of wildlife!
     

  3. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

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    why would you ask permission to change something that belongs to you? I'd say put up a fence if ones not there, post signs and be done with it.

    as for the trees, chalk it up to absence. If it happens again then try and find a solution.
     
  4. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    if its on your property fence it off
     
  5. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I agree.

    Before we bought our property three years ago (we've lived on it the past year) it sat vacant for a long time. Local hunters felt free to use it as their own and our next door neighbor was using it as if he owned it to ride his four wheeler. Once we moved here it didn't take long to put an end to all that...and with no hard feelings from anyone.
     
  6. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for everyone getting back to me so fast on this one ;-) The lane
    actually is more like an alley that separates our two properties...so technically
    I would only have ownership rights to the middle of the lane.
    It is actually far more complicated than I let on. It apparently used to be
    a "road" that people used there ATV's on and such. The previous owner actually
    went before the local council and did a _______? that made it to where the
    city stopped maintaining the road. (or something like that?) There is a ton
    of trash and old refrigerators and such where people use to use it as a dump!
    I will have to haul all that crap out!
    But the "alley" has grown up so that trees are hanging over it, and I am reasonably sure that if "someone" were to stop mowing it it would become
    unpassable (at least to cars and trucks). I guess I need to find out who is
    currently mowing it and attempt to get them to stop (at least on my half ;-)
    Thanks for the input though...
    james
     
  7. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

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    sounds like maybe it was an old county road or maybe an easement.

    I don't know what the proceedure is for that. I would think you would need to talk to your neighboor across the easment as well as any other land owners along it. If no one uses it (and it is an easment and not a county road) you may want to all talk with a lawyer. Chances are if no one uses anymore (legitimatly) that you could all split the cost and put a gate at the beginning of the easement.

    of course this is a lot easier said than done and no one can ever agree on any one thing or come up with money for the project.
     
  8. Nax

    Nax Well-Known Member

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    If it's an easement or alley that people are used to using, and you only own half, what is the advantage to you of not having people use it? Yes, post your signs, clean up the garbage (maybe your township or city would help in that, like send a county truck and bulldozer to collect and haul it--you'd be surprised what local municipalities will do if you start out with a positive attitude), and talk to your neighbors about watching to keep trespassers from cutting trees and dumping garbage. Nobody would have a complaint if you want to keep it clean and don't want damage to your property. But, you might encounter some local opposition if your looking to cut of, what has over the generations become, a common trail.

    I would recommend trying to keep the trail or road open first, and if problems come while your there (trespassing off the trail, damage to your property, dumping), take more assertive actions. If you, the neighbors, and the municipality have made an effort to keep it clean and open, everyone will be on your side to defend it. If you end up stepping on too many toes at the start saying you don't want people to use it because, "it's mine now," you'll find that people will do a lot worse than just ride an ATV or a horse on an already established trail, and you'll be spending a lot of time and energy perpetually guarding and fighting for your peace of mind.

    And unless your keeping the hunting for yourself, you may welcome the deer hunters in the Fall, especially if you're trying to grow anything.

    Just my opinion.
     
  9. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    "2 trees cut down along the fenceline...."

    Ok, there can be all kinds of situations. My sis just bought 15 acres, and a (seemingly) green tree blew down & across a path on my sis' property. I cut the top up & hauled it away for firewood. I was going to cut up the stump - but realized it would look like I cut the whole tree down, and the stump is on the neighbor's property.... So, it would look like we 'stole' the tree if I cut it off flush. So, what do we do in this case? This is mostly uncaredfor woods, no big deal. The tree was in our way, so we took care of it instead of complaining to the neighbors about 'their' tree. I felt I was doing the neighbors a favor by cleaning up the mess, not bothering them.....

    Could something like this have happened? Trees right on the boarder of a big, sort of abandoned tract of land often can be in the way or cause problems even if they don't fall down.......

    I would probably go kinda slowly with the tree issue until you figure out why 2 particular trees are missing. Now, if they were the 2 valubale black walnuts on your property, or furniture quality elm or such - I'd be talking to the police too!

    But, 2 random trees stumps very, very near the property line out of a bigger forest, and I'd be inclined to believe a neighbor was trying to do you or themselves a favor & getting rid of some sort of a problem. Unless proven otherwise or there is more to the story. While I don't appreciate neighbors helping themselves to my trees, I would cut a lot of slack for someone with a real reason, even if it does not benefit me, for taking them down.....

    Another time I was helping a friend cut up firewood from a friend of his' woodlot. (Up here in the priaries of Minnesota, it is common to own a 5 - 15 acre woodlot with limited access for firewood off along a creek or river bluff - not good land for anything else.) Well, we got 2 of 3 pickups full of wood, and found out _then_ that we were not on the right property. The folks telling us this had the neighboring woodlot, and really appreciated that we cleaned up a roadway & such, but by the way, we aren't in the right place, tho the place we were onwas not visited by the owners any more.... What to do, what to do???? An honest mistake, myself I had no clue what was going on, didn't even know the story until we packed up & headed on to a different spot.

    Mistakes happen, & while it would bug me a bit if 2 trees are suddenly short stumps, I'd plan for the best & just keep a level head & keep an eye on things. _Most_ of the time such a thing is an honest mistake, confusion on where the property line is, or a neighbor who shoulda asked, but is trying to improve things a bit. A carrot approach will go a lot better than a stick approach to 95% of these cases.


    As to the trail, that gets thorny. Esp if it is down the middle of the proerty line. And had govt involvement at one time, but is now probably 'abandoned' but the govt???? People are gonna use it if they can. Sure prefer they didn't, I can understand that!

    --->Paul
     
  10. mamajohnson

    mamajohnson Knitting Rocks! Supporter

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    Why not just put a fence on your side of the trail? You may be giving up part of the property, but if it is an easment, you really cant do anything else, anyway. With the fence there, running along your property, along the easement, you can prevent access from the road into your property.
    We had vagrants living in my dad's cabin when we moved here. Thought it would end, they would go away,,, Well, just to let you know, I was here alone with 5 kids while DH worked out of town, and the kids kept seeing people in the woods..... long story short, I did chores with a gun for awhile, from just being nervous out there. AFter about a year, and after DH came home, the sightings ended.... but strange things do disappear, and happen here on occasion....
    Just a thought.
     
  11. sullen

    sullen Question Answerer

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    I have the same deal, where I live. I bought 10 acres in a neighborhood, that everyone was used to hanging out on. It took me buying my own barking dog before the local dogs would leave us alone. There is an "old country road" (the actual name) that only goes to a brook now and all kinds were used to hanging out on it, driving their cars down there all hours. You haven't lived until you see an old Volvo barrel down at midnight! (right past my house) The town told us we could put up a metal cable across. My neighbor would help, but he wants a padlock on it. We are thinking about it.
    So maybe you could put up a cable across your half, or a cement post higher than a vehicle clears, so no one could drive down there. If you would never use it, cement might be a good bet. We use ours to get rocks, and maintence, so a cable would be our way.
    Good luck.
     
  12. Barb

    Barb Well-Known Member

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    Are you sure you own to the middle of this alley/lane? Wasn't your property surveyed before you bought it? This lane sounds like what is called a section line road here. It was probably changed to a minimum maintance road at some point. But unless the road (if it ever was one) has been officially closed it is still open for public use. You can petition to have it closed.
     
  13. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No, I'm not sure we own to the middle of the road...the previous owner
    stated that, but I am not sure (she actually didn't sound like she was
    positive herself). She had already petitioned to have it closed, and the
    township has done that. Now it is in a sort of "vaguesville" where no one
    knows the status for sure, but I just got off the phone with my wife and
    she says that she believes the locals are still using it as a shortcut. Long
    as they don't dump any more trash I don't care.

    Rambler, my wife also clarified where the two trees were and they are
    damn near the middle of the property! Way away from the fence. So
    this was definitely a criminal act. I will wait and see tomorrow (flying in
    to Minneapolis around 1:00 PM ;-) whether or not I should call the law to
    make a report. Probably won't since I hate to start off like that...
    Thanks to all of you who replied!
    James in Houston, Tx. (soon to be Houston, MN)
     
  14. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    That is an infuriating thing to happen. If the trees were large enough and the proper species there could be a great deal of money involved. Walnut especially can be quite pricey. I'm sure some of the more wood knowledgeable guys could chime in here on what a good walnut tree goes for these days.

    I would get the land surveyed, fenced and posted on the fences and in the paper). Don't be an ass but don't let people walk all over you either. Let it be known that the place has changed hands and all permissions to whatever are rescinded. The good folks will respect that and those that don't you don't want as friends anyway. If you catch them on your property after doing all these things prosecute and follow through.
     
  15. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for responding Quint. I agree. Well, I just got back from traveling up
    there and surveyed the situation. The good news is that I don't think the trail
    that runs in back of the property is too much of a problem. Talked to a fellow
    that informed me that it used to be the only road into his place, but since they
    put in a good gravel road no one uses the road much except as a nature hike,
    and maybe a snowmobile lane in winter. Don't think anyone is actually dumping
    trash down there either...the more I surveyed the area I noticed that most of
    the trash was along the ravine bed (sorta like a dry creek) and I think it gets washed down there during the spring snowmelt.

    The bad news is that I don't have a fence *at all* on my west border, and someone just drove a truck down the hill and started helping themselves to
    some firewood! Not real sure how recent this was, but you can still see the
    tire trail. I posted two "No Hunting or Trespassing" signs on that end and the
    one by the woods was tore down by the next day! Now I'm startin to get ****ed!! After studying the situation and confering with MIL and wife we have
    decided that we really don't know where that property line is ;-) I guess we
    need to get the place surveyed so we can know for sure. I still think someone
    should have called us (had name and number on the sign) if they disputed where
    our property line is.
    So we will be back up in three weeks and we'll see if the rest of my signs are
    still up. I KNOW those are on our property! I will have to get the place surveyed (anyone know about how much that usually costs for a 35 acre spread?) and then come up with the money to string a barbed wire fence (or
    cheapest fence I can get away with). With the MIL living there full time now
    I hope it won't continue to be a problem. Everyone we ran into were real nice,
    and many folks just stopped when they saw us outside to say hello ;-) Its a
    real special area...
    Oh, and Rambler, I saw what can only have been a wolverine of about 40lbs!
    Do you have any of those in your neck of the woods? I hear they are real scarce. Ya'll take care,
    James in Houston, Tx (but soon will be Houston, MN)