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 ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC

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David B
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PostSubject: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSat Aug 04, 2012 10:49 am

All,

I have received an email from someone who says they are a land owner along these trails. He does not appear to be too happy, and possibly, rightfully so. I have responded to his email and I am awaiting more information. However, even if he does not respond again, the tone of his email indicates what a few of us have suspected all along. We are currently in the process of becoming an Official Tread Lightly Club Member and it would look bad for us, and be a waste of money and time if, we find out that these roads/trails are indeed private property and we are in fact trespassing. If anyone on here can legally refute or prove the following email as incorrect, or, have definitive legal confirmation that there are public areas in this area on which to ride, please let me know asap! I would hate to have our club name associated with anything less than respectable, honorable, or legal. We have to keep in mind that our forum is visible to the world, and it is through the communication between ourselves and possible others outside the group that will help us keep a good name and still enjoy legal, responsible off roading.

Here is the email, that I received, in its entirety:

"Guys I'm going to tell you as a property owner there. Very much of your travels are on private land. The 'playground' is on private land with an absentee out of state owner who knows nothing of the damage. Neighboring areas are all private lands. The owners will prosecute if they find you trespassing.

Penley road is an abandoned state road. It used to serve a small community back in the area. (Note the graveyard that some have driven thru) The status of the road as public or private is somewhat debatable. Abandoned easements revert back to the property owners under some theory. What you think is a public road right of way, is in fact private.

Be careful. Be respectful. The road is not maintained at all. Excessive unintended use causes erosion and wear that falls on the PRIVATE land owners to fix. The road is not in any way state of forest service maintained.

If you care about property rights, this is not the place to be riding."


I did some research and found the following threads, dating back to 2005, where this area has been called into question, and basically, looks like it may be a bad idea....

http://www.nc4x4.com/forum/index.php?threads/richland-road.4176/

http://www.nc4x4.com/forum/index.php?threads/sampson-richland-rd-trail-watagua-caldwell-county.280/

http://www.nc4x4.com/forum/index.php?threads/brown-mtn.25918/ - uglyjeepoffroad wrote: "You could always run Richland Road, but make sure you stay on the main road, not the offshoot trails. They are private property."

Here is an excerpt from http://www.clubxterra.org

"XRockerX - 11-21-2011, 07:50 AM

I think there's only one trail at Brown Mtn. that's accessible for Vehicles, it's fun if you've got an extra hour or so to spare....Also, i've been to richlands road before, and unfortunately didn't realize at the time, but it's mostly private property. If you turn onto it from 321 there's a small portion that's public access, but much further than that and it's all private. We always went the back way from the Blue Ridge Parkway, again there's a few small portions that are public access, but "the pit" and those other obstacles in the heart of it are all private property....again , we didn't realize at the time because there were no posted signs stating private property."

Please, let me know any information that any of you have asap. If this turns out to be true, I will have to remove the threads that have been posted concerning Richlands/Penley Rd.

Thank you

- David

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Last edited by David B on Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:00 pm; edited 6 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSat Aug 04, 2012 11:13 am

Wow that is pretty crazy. I always had my speculations

It's such a beautiful area though, I really wanted to go back this fall
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David B
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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSat Aug 04, 2012 12:00 pm

Until further notice, it is the position of the North Carolina FJ Cruisers that the public right of way of the Richland/Penley Rd trail is in legal dispute. I have removed the Richland Road trail report thread from the forum at this time. We have determined that ANY travel off this trail how ever slightly is it, and the area's known as "The Play Ground" and "The Pit" are without question, on private property and that venturing into these areas are grounds for legal action by the land owners, that could include the possiblity of arrest, fines, etc.

I will attempt to contact the county Sheriffs department for further clarification. in the mean time, it is the position of the NCFJ Cruisers that this area should be treated as an area in legal uncertainty and should be treated as such.

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Last edited by David B on Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSat Aug 04, 2012 12:06 pm

David, my only curiosity is how this person came in contact with our group in regards to this issue?

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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSat Aug 04, 2012 12:14 pm

Sun Cruiser 6 wrote:
David, my only curiosity is how this person came in contact with our group in regards to this issue?

Not sure, but if you simply google search richland road trail, our forum comes up. That is why I mentioned that our forum is visible to the world. I mean, with the posting of youtube videos, which by the way could be used as evidence....they can trace back to our site and also the video poster. So those are a few ways I can think of. Also, this person emailed me as a guest, did not sign up on the forum.

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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSat Aug 04, 2012 12:18 pm

The Sheriffs information departments are closed for the weekend. I will attempt to call Watauga and Caldwell County Sherrifs departments to possibly shed some light.

I will try to call them Monday to see if they can provide any clarification

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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSat Aug 04, 2012 3:34 pm

I'm not sure the full extent of it, but I had a friend who is a property owner in Anson county who could not get a building permit to add on to his home due to the county's tax record showing a road running through the property. There had in fact been a road, in 1890 before the original home was built, but was no longer "in use" or even visible anymore. The county stated that because the "road" was on county record, it was state property and therefore could not be built upon. If Richland Rd was a state maintained road at any point, it is possible that the right of way and four feet to either side of it is still considered state property regardless or who owns the land on either side. As previously stated, I'm not sure of legality and if it applies to all counties or if Anson just "does their own thing." If the Watauga or Caldwell Sheriff's Offices don't have definitive answers, the counties' tax offices might. Just my two cents.
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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSat Aug 04, 2012 6:02 pm

Wow that's crazy! Unfortunately, if you Google "Richland rd nc offroad groups" we're the second result that pops up. There aren't THAT many 4x4 groups in the area or places to wheel so it's pretty easy to trace things back to us. We'll see what happens I guess.
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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSat Aug 04, 2012 7:28 pm

I think is has been stated many times by people in the know that the road itself is public right of way. I am not sure what the "pit" or the "playground" are, but I can imagine. No one in a group I have been with has played in these area. Just pass through following the road. From my experience there are far more locals with ATVs playing in this area.

It is a nice trail/road that I plan to visit again. I will continue to follow tread lightly principles. The roads aren't maintained. This is probably the driving factor for them being public, so that if they are ever in need there will be a manageable path for access.
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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSat Aug 04, 2012 7:39 pm

If there is a fear that videos will bring bad publicity to the group, I would recommend not putting on the NCFJ YouTube site. I no longer put anything connected to NCFJ on my videos and took down any that did.


Last edited by Brian on Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSat Aug 04, 2012 10:20 pm

Brian, I agree with everything you said. I am calling the local sheriff departments on Monday for clarification. As for veering off the trail, hill climbs, mud pits or puddles or anything further off trail should be avoided altogether.

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PostSubject: penley   ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSun Aug 05, 2012 10:41 am

I've asked several local from boone, and they said it was definently a legal state road. It also should have a 15 foot right of way on either side. So assuming the trail is 8 foot then it is legally 38 foot right of way. Even if a land owner owns either side of the state road they do not own the rights to stop travel of any sort on the road. Now that said I highly recommend contacting the sherriffs or register of deeds. Also I recommend following courteous trail manners, and cleaning up along the way.
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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSun Aug 05, 2012 12:21 pm

smoky cruiser wrote:
I've asked several local from boone, and they said it was definently a legal state road. It also should have a 15 foot right of way on either side. So assuming the trail is 8 foot then it is legally 38 foot right of way. Even if a land owner owns either side of the state road they do not own the rights to stop travel of any sort on the road. Now that said I highly recommend contacting the sherriffs or register of deeds. Also I recommend following courteous trail manners, and cleaning up along the way.

Well said! Thank you!

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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSun Aug 05, 2012 10:02 pm

Main road is public off shoots are private..........this is known info.
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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSun Aug 05, 2012 10:05 pm

Brian wrote:
I think is has been stated many times by people in the know that the road itself is public right of way. I am not sure what the "pit" or the "playground" are, but I can imagine. No one in a group I have been with has played in these area. Just pass through following the road. From my experience there are far more locals with ATVs playing in this area.

It is a nice trail/road that I plan to visit again. I will continue to follow tread lightly principles. The roads aren't maintained. This is probably the driving factor for them being public, so that if they are ever in need there will be a manageable path for access.

Lol.......there are like 5 videos of you playing in the "play area"
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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSun Aug 05, 2012 10:25 pm

Are you talking about the hills, or the opening with the pits and 4wheeler trails. I think that is what he is referring to as the play area. But you are right I wasn't thinking about those hills.
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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSun Aug 05, 2012 10:35 pm

Both are refered as play areas.
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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSun Aug 05, 2012 10:39 pm

lrgrnr wrote:
Main road is public off shoots are private..........this is known info.

lrgrnr wrote:
Both are refered as play areas.

Thanks for the info Larry.

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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeSun Aug 05, 2012 10:57 pm

If you guys have any pics or videos posted of the recently discussed off limits areas (play grounds/pits), please be sure to remove those as I know we are all sorry if we have erroneously veered off course in anyway.

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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeMon Aug 06, 2012 2:00 pm

I am awaiting call backs from the Caldwell County and Watauga County Sheriff departments so i will post up more info when available.

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PostSubject: calling the cops   ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeMon Aug 06, 2012 6:37 pm

This might be the first time I've ever said thanks for calling the cops.
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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeMon Aug 06, 2012 9:40 pm

Ok, update....Heard back from Caldwell County Sheriffs department today. They consulted their 911 coordinator and basically, the part of the road that is "developed" is in Caldwell County, and of course is public access. Where the road "ends" (look at Google maps) is, I guess where the "trail" begins and most of that is in Watauga County, so I was referred to the Watauga County GIS website for further information. What can be gathered fron the Watauga GIS site is that ALL the land along the "old road" is private property. I called the Watauga County Sheriff department and I am still waiting to hear back from them.

----------------------

I went one step further and have a friend who has a close friend who is an officer with Blowing Rock PD and asked their advice. Here is what I found out from BRPD:

" ******** spoke to one of the other BRPD officers who used to have a Jeep he would take offroad (yea I know). Here's what he said: "####### says it's still technically a county road, but there's posted private property all along the road.................."


----------------------

So....things are getting a little clearer...The more I dig, the more this looks like it is still considered a "county road" However, nowhere at all is it ok to leave the trail. Leaving the trail at any point, is considered trespassing on privately owned land. Also, from what I am reading, there may be some unsavory activity and characters that may be lurking back along the trail, so no one should EVER travel alone...

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PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeMon Aug 06, 2012 11:28 pm

Thanks for doing all the leg work, David. My in-laws live in Lenoir and have tried to get me to go out there almost every time I'm in the area. Still haven't been out there but would love to check it out if it is in fact legal to do so.
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bigdogdewey2
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***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Empty
PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeTue Aug 07, 2012 1:36 am

honestly it sounds like if there "WAS" a road at any point in time then there still is a road. Ive never heard of any level of government selling off or giving back roads to private owners. as far as the "play" areas its simple...dont play. The road itself is fun enough as it is.
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smoky cruiser
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***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Empty
PostSubject: r/p   ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitimeTue Aug 07, 2012 9:05 am

Sounds good been looking forwards to going.


Last edited by smoky cruiser on Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Empty
PostSubject: Re: ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC    ***Advisory*** Richlands/Penley Rd Watauga NC  Icon_minitime

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