Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Signs

The signs were put up today!
The signs were put up today!
What signs?!
These signs...

Let me tell you a story...
Our house is surrounded by conservation land. 
It has been surrounded by conservation lands since the early 1970s. 
Before that, it was private land.
My family's private land. 
The conservation district in our county instituted eminent domain to obtain our private lands. 
And conservation officials haven't always been so fair in their maintenance of the land that is officially theirs. 
I'm not one to be so quiet about things that aren't fair. 
Let's just say that I don't think the current park ranger, who maintains the conservation lands around our home, is my biggest fan. 
I'm a complainer when I feel I'm being walked on. 
There are areas around our home that have never been maintained by conservation workers, but instead we (me, my dad, my dad's dad) have done the maintaining. 
Mowing plots of land that aren't legally ours anymore. 
Yet, they aren't willing to sell the land back to us that we maintain. 
I feel it's a give and take.
And they are just starting to realize that this unwritten relationship needs to be upheld on their end. 

We mow a path around our home so that 
we can enjoy the woods. 
We mow paths into the woods, to the pond behind our home. 
And people who decide to enjoy conservation lands to the south of us have started using our paths for their own leisure. 
Walking too close to our home when there are miles and miles of hiking trails that conservation has opened up for the public to use. 
They are strolling on trails that don't go anywhere but into my backyard. 
It's discouraging and as people in the 21st century seem to be less afraid of following rules, we have felt uneasy about these people encroaching on our privacy. 

When my grandfather lived in this house alone (the land that we live on belonged to my grandmother's family...my children are the 6th generation on my dad's maternal side to reside in the same home) conservation gave my family another issue to contend with. 
The gates to the trails (horse riding trails and hiking trails) weren't being closed at sunset as they should be. 
A man was hiding his car in the back of the parking lot and watching my grandfather and the house. 
He ended up robbing the house on two occasions. 
Grandpa's watchdog, Otto, was more of a lover instead of a fighter.  
The robber's capture came when the county sheriff decided to do a stakeout and caught the man trying to enter yet again. 
A car chase and an injured deputy resulted. 
And an arrest. 
All which, in my opinion, could have been avoided if conservation had done their job. 
The gates are now locked at sunset in all seasons. 
With the ranger doing a drive though the circular parking area checking for unattended cars. 

With people being more ballsy in their lack of respect for our privacy, plus this incident in the past, we had asked conservation to put up some signs.
Signs informing people that the trails are the other way. 
Not around our home. 
I started my campaign for signs in the early spring. 
Contacting the individual who was in charge of land operations. 
He's now, in the short time of my correspondence with him, become executive director of conservation in our county. 
Reminding him why we want people to stay on the trails instead of walking around our home. 
It's a matter of respect to our privacy, history, and family. 

Signs went up this morning. 

Installed after many emails from me reminding them that I wasn't giving up.
We have to endure hordes of people around our home at times. 
Because we are on conservation land. 
But, it's not by choice.
Not since eminent domain. 
And we don't want strangers walking around our house. 
Who would like that?
No one wants that. 
Now, I'm no crumudgeon who doesn't want people to enjoy nature. 
I just don't know how walking around my house looking at my AC unit and horse manure pile could in anyway be a pleasurable experience for hikers. 
I'm sure the signs will help eradicate the issue.
And if someone still decides to walk around my yard, stopping to pet my horse or letting their dog crap by my fence, now I can yell out...
"YO, didn't you see the sign?!"

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