There will be a court hearing on the subject in the Newfane Court House 9 am on August 21st, 2017.
As many of you have seen, a plastic fence has been put up at the Rice Farm Road trailhead. About three years ago, Mr. Melvin Mayo purchased the lot and buildings above the trailhead on the West River Trail. As confirmed by the courts, he purchased only 2 acres down to the former West River Railroad. However Mr. Mayo is claiming ownership down to the river, based on the Dummerston tax map, which is incorrect.
People have been using this beautiful trail along the West River since at least the 1930s when the railroad tracks were taken up. So, the fence and the attempt to block the public from using the trail negatively affects many people in our community. There will be a court hearing on the subject in the Newfane Court House 9 am on August 21st, 2017. Please feel free to come to the public hearing and to add your stories about the trail in the comments section below.
Posted on behalf of Lester Humphreys, Friends of the West River Trail.
As many trail users are aware, branches and stick barriers have been placed at the Rice Farm Road (RFR) trail head for some time now. More recently, the words “No Trespassing” and “Private -Keep Out” were painted on the ground. The area being contested is the RFR trail head, including a couple hundred feet south on the trail. Friends of the West River Trail (FWRT) has deeds and surveys showing FWRT ownership of the trail for public use. Furthermore, the public has been using this trail for decades and because of that, has the continuing right to use the trail (this right is called a prescriptive easement).
Recently FWRT brought an action in court to stop this obstruction. However, it will take several weeks to 3 months or more for the court to address the situation. In the past, trail users who have come in contact with the contesting party have been treated politely by him and even encouraged to use the trail. Unfortunately, our efforts as members of the FWRT to resolve or even discuss the situation have been met with hostility. Given the situation, it is up to each trail user to decide whether to use the RFR access to the trail. If you are feeling concerned about using the RFR trail head, you can access the trail from Fox Farm Rd or the Marina trail head. We regret the uncertainty and any inconvenience this is causing.