DA: No trespassing allowed on Tahoe Mountain property
November 4, 2005
The El Dorado County district attorney’s office says it will prosecute anyone who trespasses on private property near Dundee Circle on Tahoe Mountain, where the public was once permitted to pass through private property to connect to U.S. Forest Service land above it.
District Attorney Gary Lacy and Assistant District Attorney Hans Uthe investigated and found no public easement exists on the 15-acre property, which Monica Kohs bought last December for $1.3 million.
Some wondered whether constant public use on the 200-yard stretch of road crossing the property may have created the right to use that road forever, a right called a prescriptive easement.
The easements are created through continuous use of a property to the detriment of the property owner’s rights. It’s called “adverse possession” by legal experts.
Hikers, mountain bikers and people with property above the road say they have used it to access Forest Service land for decades.
But no prescriptive easement exists, Uthe said, because previous owners gave verbal consent to the Forest Service that the public could use the road.
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When you give permission, you can take it away, legal experts said.
Recreatonists earlier this year reported being confronted by Kohs, who told them they could no longer use the road. “No trespassing” signs went up. The Forest Service now has “No Access” signs in place.
“We’ll try to give the community some time to adjust to this because it’s a substantial change to how the property was used,” Uthe said.
All is not lost, he added.
“The silver lining here is apparently there’s a very nice trail system above the parcel, and I’m told there’s at least two other points of access.”