Roberta Whiting: Private property access by the public has its risks
Recent comments in The Union regarding the right of property owners to post their land with no trespassing signs, or erect gates, reflect the opinions of both The Union staff (Hits & Misses, May 25) and Mr. Jim Primrose (letters to the editor, June 1). Both The Union staff and Jim Primrose take the position that property owners should allow access to their property by all who wish to enter.
As a property owner on a trail, let me share with The Union and its readers what it is like to live on a trail that has a constant stream of trespassers. We have had the experience of large fires, some big enough to require several engine companies and/or aircraft to extinguish. We have had abuses to our property such as repeated damage from graffiti, and indescribable amounts of trash (some of it toxic, i.e., used condoms, used hypodermic needles).
We have been surrounded on all sides by multiple homeless camps, many occupied by mentally disturbed individuals, and drug and alcoholic users. Some campers have been armed with guns, knives, and even machetes. We have had countless visits from teens and adults who come to use drugs or alcohol in a secluded place.
Our neighbor was physically threatened by an armed man with multiple weapons because she asked him to remove his camp from her property.
Our worst experience has been two illegal entries into our home. One, when I was home alone and found a strange man in my hallway, who had emerged after using our master bath and bedroom for his needs. The second entry occurred one night while we slept. Someone had wandered through our house, moving objects around, and left their trash on our kitchen counter.
Other less dangerous, but odd occurrences, have been the surprise visit by a large, boisterous wedding party who enjoyed their ceremony on our property, complete with preacher and live music. On another day, we noticed a brownish mist out our windows, which turned out to be someone who was casting the cremated ashes of a loved one in our backyard.
Primrose stated that all uninvited users of privately owned property had a responsibility to the owners to respect their property. Does he have any plan for how we might separate the good guy trespassers from the abusive or dangerous ones?
The Union has published the opinions of those who think property owners should provide free access to their property. You and they do not understand the intolerable incidences that go along with the disrespectful trespassing. Please do not publish any more opinions that trivialize the meaning of signs that say “NO Trespassing.”
No trespassing means no trespassing. By supporting the trespassers, you are exposing us to further peril. We need to feel safe in our home just as much as anyone else does, with or without a trail.
Roberta Whiting lives in Nevada City.
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“There is a cult of ignorance in this country … nurtured by the false notion that ‘my ignorance is as good as your knowledge.'” — Isaac Asimov, 1980.