Above are two photos of signs posted on Road 500, the
main road leading from Caspar into Jackson Forest. This is the main access
road to North and South Caspar Creek. It continues all of the way to Hwy 20.
It is open all year around and is typically used a lot by locals.
Around 2000, Mr. Ed Powers bought land
auctioned by Hawthorne. This land spanned Caspar Creek and went from the
Caspar State Park Beach to JDSF. Mr. Powers deeded the riparian zone to the
state and has been developing the remainder as residential lots. Road 500
runs through Mr. Power's parcel. JDSF has a right of way for Road 500 and
has always kept this road open for public access and continues to do so.
According to Mr. Ed Perrott, who
spoke to me at the July 26, 2008 recreation meeting, Mr. Powers has
attempted to discourage public use of the section of Road 500 that passes
through his property. He has intercepted people walking on the road and told
them that this is private property. Although technically correct, this
statement misleads people, because although private property, there is the
right of public access. Mr. Power requested permission from Cal Fire to
erect a gate across the road. Cal Fire has the right to keep this road open
for public access under the right-of-way provision in the deed.
Cal Fire denied Mr. Power's request.
In the letter of denial, Mr.
William Snyder, Deputy Director for Resource Management, included the
The key phrase for the issue of
"We consider any signage
implying that public access is restricted as an impediment to travel across
Cal Fire approved the sign shown at
the top of the page. This sign is now posted at the entrance to the section
of road traversing Mr. Powers property. Although it appears, somewhat
indirectly, to convey a right of passage when seen up close, its actual
effect is make approaching motorists believe they will be trespassing on
private property if they continue. This is apparent from the photo on right,
which is scaled down so that one sees what would be seen by someone
approaching the sign.
The sign should not have been
approved. Its effect clearly contradicts the position of Cal Fire, as stated
by Mr. Snyder. Cal Fire should be asked to reconsider and withdraw its
approval of the sign now on Road 500. Any approved sign should state "Public
Road" in letters of equal size to "Private Property". For example:
Next 3/4 Mile
Stay on Road
Please Drive Slowly
This would inform people that they
are on a public road and still provide notice that they are passing through
private property and should not leave the road. This will provide the notice
desired by Mr. Powers while protecting the right of public access.