County owns easement for Cascade Canal trail parking area, not property
Nevada County officials clarified this week that they do not own the parking area near the Lower Cascade Canal trailhead, as previously stated, but do own the easement rights to the property to use for public purposes.
Last month, hikers who use the trail were upset over what they believed to be unofficial “no parking” signs placed at the intersection of Gracie and Banner Lava Cap roads near Nevada City.
Nevada County Public Works Director Steve Castleberry said he received complaints from residents about the signs, which were installed by adjacent property owner Lisa Musa and her husband, in an attempt to keep people from damaging and trespassing on their private property located next to the parking lot.
On Aug. 3, public works staff posted a public message on its Facebook page, stating that “Our research found that the parking area is owned by the county, not the private owner.”
Musa said she took down the unofficial “no parking” and “no trespassing” signs they placed in the parking area last week, but said that there was no confusion as to who owned the property.
“My main concern was I didn’t want things said that weren’t true, like we didn’t own the property,” she said. “We actually have someone looking at the easement rights and exactly what they entail … But our main concern is about people misusing our property.”
According to Musa, her family has owned the property and nearby home going back to the old mining days.
Musa said her grandmother signed over easement rights to the county in the 1990s, and that she and her husband have owned the property for 12 years.
Castleberry said he may have been loose with the wording on who owned the parking area, but that the county fully has the right to use the property for public purposes.
“We’ve got an easement to put a road on it, to allow parking. It doesn’t really affect the use of it,” Castleberry said. “I don’t want to give the public any sense that they don’t have rights to that whole area, because they do.”
Musa said due to her home’s proximity to the trail and parking area, she has witnessed people trespass and litter on her property throughout the years.
“People were also defecating and urinating on our lawn on a regular basis,” she said. “I have a swing on my property and I literally turned around one day and a woman was looking at me and my husband sitting on our swing and she pulled down her pants and peed right there. So we put the signs up to try and stop this.”
Public Works staff recently met with Musa and her husband to address their concerns. In an attempt to separate their property from the public trail, county staff will place large rocks along Musa’s private property line, and will look at improving the surface of the parking area to prevent erosion.
“It probably won’t help, but we are hoping that something good has come out of this,” said Musa. “That maybe we grabbed people’s attention to be more respectful. We’re hoping in light of this that people will think twice before they use our yard as a bathroom, or use our yard to get to the trail.”
To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.
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