The rain lightened this morning giving me a chance to take the dog for a much-needed run, something her breed requires almost daily. She’s been cooped up by the fire during the storm lasting for the past two days, staring at me with soulful eyes every time I put on my jacket to go for more wood for the fire.
Our morning walk often parallels a small lake fed by a flume maintained by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. It takes water from the upper Feather River and channels it through 4 generators in a powerhouse built in the 1930’s but still in operation and eventually back into the river. It’s a route we’ve used a couple times a week for the past 10 years.
Part of the flume is on state land and part on an old ranch, the latter no longer viable for cattle production. Until the recent economic downturn it was proposed for a potential housing development pending the ability to purchase scarce water locally. The old barbed wire fences have mostly fallen and the primary access gates are often left open in the summer to allow immediate access in the case of a wildfire. A handful of local residents know of this part of the flume and use it for early morning walks with their dogs or just to observe the abundant bird-life found there due to the water. Since we have been walking this route we have rarely encountered other hikers, and only twice mountain bikers, and the area has remained devoid of trash and other debris.
Today, after circumventing the lake and starting down the flume we came to the first gate. On it was a newly attached sign with fluorescent letters, NO TRESPASSING. An adjacent gate leading up an access road also had the same sign…NO TRESPASSING.
It’s unclear why landowners of vacant unused lands in this country feel compelled to prevent others from enjoying foot access even as these lands are neither maintained for livestock production or other commercial or recreational uses. I recently had a conversation with a sales person in a local store who was lamenting that California was not as restrictive as his native Tennessee where he claimed it was legal to shoot trespassers (I find that hard to believe!)
The attitude of “I’ve got mine; to Hell with everyone else” is the foundation of a failing society bent on eventual revolution.