Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > N Fork SKY USFS LAND? ROAD "FS310 / 312" Prescriptive Easement?
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Norm
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PostSat Nov 11, 2023 4:40 am 
Went up to check out newly opened Index/Galena road that ONLY took 17 years to fix! I also checked out a couple places I go to alot up there. Was surprised to discover a huge "Array" of NEW "Keep Out" "No Tresspassing" Private Property" signs PLUS threatening signs such as "a dog will hurt you" "Or I will pull a handgun on you" IF you decide to go farther on this "ROAD". The specific "ROAD" is # 6300 / 310 & 312 which branch off of Index/Galena Road about 3-4 miles East of Index. There is a very small dark brown metal gate on N (River Side) directly across from Gated RD #6310 "Bitter Creek" which goes 5-8 miles up to "Tom/Dick & Harry Lakes". The brown gate has an obvious Number "FS310" welded to it near the lockbox. Walking this very short "road" & taking a LEFT at a sort of "T" intersection will lead you to a trail down to the N Fork Sky riverbank and an awesome swimming/ tubing / fishing & even camping area. Anyway- Just as you get maybe 150' from "T" intersection there is a whole bunch of brand new signs indicating that "SOMEONE" thinks they own this land and they are threatening you with bodily harm if you should choose to keep going. Of coarse I ignored the signs and hiked down to the river like I always do. These signs were NOT there in August of 2023. When I got home I looked at some maps that seem to show what I have always thought. That this is a little known tract of Forest Service Land along the River and therefore should be accessable to the public. Then I looked up Forest Service Land Sales & that says Forest Service Rarely or NEVER sells land & only is able to "trade" land for other land that will be in the publics BEST interest. Does anyone here think its possible that a private party has a legitimate claim to owning this little gated road? Could they have some sort of Easement? Is there a former mineral claim? Is there any other reason someone could think they own this land. Could they ACTUALLY OWN some or all of this land and legitamately post Keep Out/ Private property signs? I have been going to this place well over 20 years. A lot of the time no one is there but there have been times when I have seen other swimmers, kayakers, fishermen, dog walkers & tent campers so GEN POP has been notoriuosly accessing this land probably since 1930's - 1940's ?! I would think the public would have a right of use to access the riverbank even IF some or all of this land is suddenly "Private Ownership" or something. Also seems like if there was a legit "land swap" or "sale" there would be survey markers as well as a huge "notice of intent" sign as a requirement. FS Land Swaps would take 3-4 years. I plan to contact Sno Co & Forest Service about this. Anyone have ideas about what could be going on here?

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Sculpin
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PostSat Nov 11, 2023 10:11 am 
It sounds like most of the requirements for a hostile possession public easement are met. The only remaining question is whether the USFS parcel can be accessed entirely across public land without using the road. A bigger problem is that the USFS sees itself as engaged in lots of (more) important stuff and probably won't help even if there is legal access down that road. AFAICT you would either have to be accosted by a man brandishing a gun, attacked by a dog, or be able to afford a lawyer who can write a letter with an intent to file suit. frown.gif

Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir
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Norm
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PostSat Nov 11, 2023 10:26 am 
Seems like if this was legit you would post signs right at the gate that is less than 5 feet from the paved road. Not just post them where they are only seen if you walk maybe 200' - 300' down the road and around a curve. Hm.....may have to bypass with a bootleg trail or hopefully some local fishermen "deal with it" !

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jinx'sboy
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PostSat Nov 11, 2023 10:41 am 
There are cases where the FS does issue a Special Use Permit (NOT an easement) to access an isolated piece of private property. Such Permits do allow someone to gate a road and to keep vehicles off ‘their road’, but it does not allow the Permit holder to keep people from walking on or across that road - it is still public property. Such Permits are not secret….they are available for public inspection. Ask about them at the local FS office.

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Schroder
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PostSat Nov 11, 2023 11:30 am 
The Snohomish County Assessors map clearly shows this as all Forest Service land.

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Norm
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PostSat Nov 11, 2023 12:31 pm 
For Clarity - The FS310 Gate is NOT a new thing. Gate has been there a LONG time. I used to Kayak the N Fork religeously is only reason I checked it out in 1985 ish? Most People probably never notice it because at crest of small hill rite after a curve AND its brown instead of the usual green. When I first checked it out back then there was a mining claim posted on a tree maybe 50' inside of gate. That sign is long gone and there has never been evidence of any mining activity. I don't think these new keep out signs have anything to do with a placer mine claim. A friend told me that some land owners up Icicle Creek were successful in getting part of a FS RD closed because they have cabins up there. Some Legit & Some Bootleg. But this doesn't seem like that. Nothing has been built. Just a bunch of maples cut for firewood and a weird hillside dug in fire pit thing!

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Norm
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PostTue Nov 14, 2023 8:52 am 
UPDATE - Wow FS acted on this immediately! They went in and removed the signs. I didn't expect a response like that! They said FS RD 310 is an old logging "spur" that they keep locked always. They said NO mineral claim & NO private property or road "easement" or anything. Public Access Welcome as long as you park properly & walk in. Fantastic ! AND - Just got another msg. FS said these "folks" DID cut the lock OFF the gate and put their own lock on it so they try investigate WHO? I guess its fairly common. Sad

rossb, ALW Hiker, Exmoor, contour5, kiliki, day_hike_mike, RichP
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Waterman
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PostTue Nov 14, 2023 9:23 am 
Well done! So how difficult is it to get to tom dick and harry? Tried years ago, but my buddy got freaked when we ran into bear #2.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost
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Norm
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PostTue Nov 14, 2023 10:16 am 
I have only been maybe 500' OFF the logging RD towards TD &H. I am pretty sure I was on a trail of sorts but I was on snow shoes and had run out of daylite & wasn't that nice of day. It wasn't hard to figure out the correct spur RD. This was 8 years ago ish? So..........2 bears would be my limit too! But then 2 beers is also!

rossb
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treeswarper
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PostTue Nov 14, 2023 11:01 am 
Norm wrote:
UPDATE - Wow FS acted on this immediately! They went in and removed the signs. I didn't expect a response like that! They said FS RD 310 is an old logging "spur" that they keep locked always. They said NO mineral claim & NO private property or road "easement" or anything. Public Access Welcome as long as you park properly & walk in. Fantastic ! AND - Just got another msg. FS said these "folks" DID cut the lock OFF the gate and put their own lock on it so they try investigate WHO? I guess its fairly common. Sad
Wow. That is fast. It seemed forever for a similar case near Randle. In the Randle bit, the road was washed out on one end and the private landowner posted threatening signs along the still open road. I am thinking that locals frequently tore the signs down, and I'm not sure if any fines were levied against the landowner.

What's especially fun about sock puppets is that you can make each one unique and individual, so that they each have special characters. And they don't have to be human––animals and aliens are great possibilities
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Sky Hiker
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PostWed Nov 15, 2023 6:39 pm 
Good job contacting the USFS . Now that the road is opened I am sure LEO Amanda will make her presence there. The upper Sky valley has a bad habit of attracting riff raff, squatters, and garbage dumpers who occupy the side roads. I am sure some of the posted land may be legit but as you found out some isn't. I just hope the NF doesn't get trashed

RichP
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JonnyQuest
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PostFri Nov 17, 2023 11:43 am 
Norm wrote:
I used to Kayak the N Fork religeously is only reason I checked it out in 1985 ish?
Might you have a resort named after you?

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Norm
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PostFri Nov 17, 2023 8:01 pm 
I used to but I don't go there much anymore!

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