I read with interest your article on the Ontario Ridge/pugnacious landowner fight (“Ontario ridge fight goes coastal,” June 26).
I have done a lot of hiking in SLO County over the last 20 years or so and remember similar issues. There is (or was) a public hiking trail (with official trail sign) maybe a half mile past the end of the paved road (Hi Mountain Road) on the left when coming from Arroyo Grande that we used to take. It had lovely views but, being somewhat out of the way, wasn’t frequented as often as others. Still, we liked it. Then one day down below the trail, in between its start and finish, we noticed a McMansion being built—a bit of a bummer as it took away some of the out-of-the-way feel of the place. Still, at the top the views out were lovely as ever.
One day, we decided to hike there again. The house was just built and apparently the new owner moved in. Suddenly some guy hops on his ATV (the choice of transportation for rednecks in the country), hightails it up the trail, and tells us to get the hell off his property. I explained that it was a public hiking trail and he says, “Not anymore it’s not. It’s now my private property! Get off.” Soon thereafter another big dump was built on the right not too far from the other. We never went back. I’ve heard stories that anybody even walking down the road now is subject to being accosted and warned that they’d better not step foot off the road.
On another occasion we parked on Huasna Road to take a walk down it. After a long stroll, we came back to find our tires flattened, along with those of three other cars. Apparently stooges out there decided to vandalize our vehicles in hopes of discouraging walkers. I called the county and they sent someone out who put up a sign informing that it was legal to walk the road. Not sure if the sign is still there or not, but the stooges are still there patrolling and warning.
-- John Macintyre - Arroyo Grande