Re: “Property Rights Stall Logging at YMCA Camp Coleman.” (March 2017)

Last month’s story reminded me of something that happened some years ago on the Key Peninsula.

A property owners’ association road ran along the west boundary of the community.

Their neighbor on the west had timber adjacent to the road and, as his own access was much less convenient, asked if he could use their private road to haul his logs to market. He said he would repair the road afterward.

If the community had an agreement in writing from the neighbor, stating that he would pay for repairs needed to fix any and all damage to the road caused by logging near or hauling over it, he might have provided incentives for the logger to be careful and much of the damage that occurred could have been avoided. Estimates by professional road construction and maintenance people would have gone a long way to assess the true cost of marketing the timber.

This was not done, but the community decided to let him use the road out of a desire to be good neighbors.

The logging was carried out, the logs hauled, the road damaged and the owner learned what it might cost to repair the road. There might or might not have been enough return from the logging to pay for it.

The association pressed to have the road repaired. The neighbor put a gate across the access and locked it to keep community members off his property.

Enmity was established.

The principal players in this drama are dead and gone. The locked gate is still there, just visible through the brush.


Frank Slater