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Snowmachiners, please respect private property

Posted: February 4, 2013 - 12:43pm

Property along East Skyline Drive, from East Hill Road to half a mile past the school bus turn around and all along Ohlson Mountain Road past Lookout Mountain, is all private property. There is no public land in this area anywhere along these two roads.

Skyline landowners remind snowmachine operators that running your machine anywhere in this area is illegal and driving off the roadway constitutes trespass on private land.

The Snowmads are to be commended for their efforts in creating legal trails and parking areas for this recreational pursuit so snowmachine enthusiasts can enjoy public lands open to snowmachining.  Established parking areas at the end of East End Road and at the Watermelon Trail off Ohlson Mountain Road opposite the public ski area provide easy access to some of the best snowmachine trails.

Most of the public land in the Homer area is open, except State Park land and public ski trails.  The Snowmads have worked a great deal on outreach and education to let users know where these areas are. They also host activities and trail rides to get people out to public lands.  

However, more outreach is needed to educate those who are trespassing on private lands, a situation which creates animosity toward this user group.  People pay taxes on private land and deserve the right to enjoy the use of their land without the intrusion of these machines. 

Most property owners value their privacy, like to see tracks of resident animals, and enjoy the quiet of their property. Many landowners use their parcels for snowshoeing or skiing, and they do not appreciate the hard, frozen snowmachine tracks on their property which can sometimes make skiing difficult and dangerous.

Some of those disregarding private property are driving recklessly for miles on public roads or just on the edges at high rates of speed. Some machines don’t have mufflers and can be heard for miles. On private property, the operators travel at high speeds over vegetation and run circles in open areas. Often these trespassers disregard people’s privacy by racing past homes and their machines run over small spruce trees and willows.

In reality, this reckless run on private property violates the owner’s privacy and tranquility, and disturbs resident wildlife.   

User groups can co-exist if there is respect and separation.

Please educate yourself about where you can legally snowmachine. Road rights-of-way are not legal snowmachine paths, nor are local roads.

 Be neighborly and respect people’s property rights by not trespassing, whether the land is posted or not.  The Kenai Peninsula Borough has an easy to use “parcel viewer” that shows land ownership so you can see where the public lands are located. Check it out: http://mapserver.borough.kenai.ak.us/kpbmapviewer/.The Kenai Peninsula Borough Annex on Pioneer Avenue also has maps showing land ownership, as well as where and how to access public lands.

Nina Faust, who lives in the area, writes for the owners of eight different properties in the Skyline Drive and Ohlson Mountain Road area.

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