Homeowners troubled by trespassers seeking shortcut to trail

Douglas and Victoria Sharp of Logan say that trespassers are ignoring Private Property signs while seeking shortcuts to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail above their East Bench home.

LOGAN – The arrival of spring weather is good news for Cache Valley outdoor enthusiasts who are thronging to Logan’s extensive network of public paths and trailways.

But it’s bad news for the Sharp family of Logan who are being forced to contend with trespassers taking shortcuts to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail along the city’s east bench.

“We built a dream house in what we thought was a quiet area,” says Douglas Sharp. “But it turns out to be more of a nightmare … People amaze me. I’ve had people throw rocks at my dogs because they bark. People yell obscenities at my wife when she tells them (our backyard) is private property. My road is at times completely blocked with cars so that I cannot get into or out of my house.”

The Bonneville Shoreline Trail stretches north from a trailhead in Logan Canyon on Hwy 89 near First Dam all the way to Green Canyon in North Logan. The trail’s 1.8 mile length approximately traces what was once the prehistoric waterline of Lake Bonneville.

“The problem is that there aren’t many ways for the public to access the trail along its length,” according to Amy Z. Anderson, the chair of the Logan City Council.

The only official trailheads for the Bonneville Shoreline Trail are at its southern end near First Dam in Logan Canyon and at its northern end near 1900 North in Green Canyon. Public access to the trail is also available from 1300 North near Lundstrom Park. But Anderson acknowledges that many would-be hikers are tempted to take shortcuts to reach the trail across private property between those access points.

Unfortunately, the Sharp family’s backyard is one of those “convenient” shortcuts.

“People have actually told us that we’re being selfish by asking them to walk a couple of extra blocks to access the trail rather than cutting through our yard,” Victoria Sharp explains. “The city says that the trails are supposed to be closed after sundown, but we’ve had people walking through our backyard at all hours of the night. That’s frightening when you have small children at home.”

Anderson says that there is actually a public right-of-way leading to the trail through a ravine behind the Sharps’ home, but that way is unpaved and rugged. A clearly-beaten path from the top of Mountainview Lane also leads uphill to the trail, but that road is private property.

Anderson believes that the solution to the Sharps’ problem is two-fold: improved public access to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and better signage in the area of the Sharps’ home. The city council chair said that Logan is moving in both of those directions.

“I’ve spoken to the Sharps and the city certainly appreciates their concerns,” Anderson explains. “Russ Akina, our Parks and Recreation director, is already looking at ways to improve public access to the trail between 1300 North and 1900 North.”

Anderson added that the city is also looking at the option of installing new signage that will more clearly identify both public access to the trail and private property.

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22 Comments

  • Michael May 3, 2020 at 9:15 pm Reply

    Another solution to me is for the city to put up a fence so that trespassers can’t cut through their backyard. Would that be a possibility? I feel bad for this family.

    • Scout miller May 4, 2020 at 4:29 pm Reply

      Why should the City pay for anything? If the family built a home near the right of way and don’t like people on their property then the Sharps can pay to build a fence around their property. Too easy.

  • Evan Hillman May 3, 2020 at 10:21 pm Reply

    This isn’t the only “dream house” that has made life more difficult for those who partake of the outdoors. And there is another problem. When I moved here to Logan 30 years ago, I bought a house on a quiet narrow street on the Island. Now it is a high speed route for people commuting from the East bench to the University and other parts of town. There is nothing I can do to get back the quiet street I thought I would be living on. Since I’m now a low income disabled individual, my opinion doesn’t appear to count anyway.

    • Lou Ann Sakaki May 4, 2020 at 1:07 am Reply

      Evan Hillman, which street is that?

  • Lou Ann Sakaki May 4, 2020 at 1:08 am Reply

    Evan Hillman, which street is that? I’m sorry to hear this.

  • Dr. John Nelson May 4, 2020 at 11:31 am Reply

    I wanted to add my “two cents” to Charlie Schill’s feature on the home near the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Yes, I live near there (just down 1500N), and yes, I have used that access for many years to the Shoreline Trail and its predecessor trails, long before that house up there was built … before the street was established even. And I have realized that the street in question is not an “official” Logan City property, but a “lane,” the maintenance responsibility of which is the homeowners.’. And, yes, I have, of course, noticed the signs at both ends forbidding access, which is disappointing and frustrating..

    First of all, I cannot imagine anyone using the complainant’s “backyard” as an access trail. I presume what he is calling his “backyard” is the street in FRONT of his house … or the lot just past his house at the end of the pavement. Unless he owns ALL of the lots on that street, I don’t see how he can justify unilaterally closing it off, ESPECIALLY since it has been an used as a “public” access for MANY YEARS.. In my (and many of my neighbors’) opinion, his closing off that convenient and long available access to the BST is a very unfriendly maneuver, and I’m not sure why the city and community let him get away with it. When he acquired and developed that lot, he should have been aware that, through long term usage, the street (and before that the trail) had become a public access.

    If, indeed, the fellow has legal ownership of ALL the lots AND the road, I suppose he may have an argument for his exclusionary policy. However, “throwing rocks” at his (friendly although somewhat aggressively barking) dogs notwithstanding, the fact that hikers and bikers pass IN FRONT of his property maybe should not be such an imposition. Some “neighborly” folks might actually enjoy a wave or friendly word of greeting from a passerby.

    I, for one, would be grateful for official documentation of street ownership, and whether years of regular usage supersedes private property rights .

    Reading that the City Parks and Rec Department are “looking into” additional access to the BST is somewhat reassuring. But, despite the best intentions of Russ Akina et al, sometimes such projects (similar to the landscaping of the canal “trail” down the hill, predicted to happen “in a couple of weeks” a couple of years ago) seem to fade out of memory.

    Thanks! I enjoy your on-line “newspaper,” including fine articles by Mr Schill.

    • Rachel May 6, 2020 at 9:14 am Reply

      Agreed. The access is on the street in front of their house. I can’t imagine why anyone would go through their backyard. If they are, build a fence, homeowner. They had to have been aware of that access when they built.

  • MT May 4, 2020 at 12:22 pm Reply

    I would argue that legally this is an established “prescriptive easement “ and they need to keep it open. https://propertyrights.utah.gov/easements/

    • MT May 4, 2020 at 5:19 pm Reply

      This does not apply, the private road in question is not over 10 years old. And after that all it has to be is blocked for 24 hrs to maintain private property.

      • MT May 6, 2020 at 11:38 pm Reply

        But the trail they built over was there for at least 10 years. A new house in the Sumac neighborhood was built by the water lab and they were required by the city to reroute an existing dirt trail along the edge of their property to keep it open.

  • KS May 4, 2020 at 1:04 pm Reply

    I agree with Dr. John Nelson’s comments. The street in front of house is open to public access. The parcel of land behind the home is owned by Logan City (as mentioned in article). Along with multiple other lots owned by the city in that area that seem like they are intended as public right-of-ways to access the BST trail. 4/6 lots surrounding the home are owned by a holding company with a California address. I doubt anyone is actually in Mr. Sharp’s backyard. This isn’t the city’s problem, this is failure to do his due diligence in researching the property he bought. Parcel maps are public record can be found through the Cache County website.

    But, on the other hand I don’t see why the city needs 5 points of access for a 1.8 mile trail. There’s the Green Canyon access, the access near the middle of this trail directly above Lundstrom Park, and the access at First Dam. Seems sufficient to me…

  • Rebecca Hunter May 4, 2020 at 2:15 pm Reply

    You can not control the actions of the general public. You can put a fence around your property. This is the same for any property owner that builds or buys in an area that is frequented by the general public. I for one have lived in an area that had fields behind our home for over 10 years. Now that land has been developed in to a housing development. We have had our chicken killed because of dogs not kept on leaches and or gotten out of yards. We have chalked it up to well we don’t have a fence to protect them, thats on us. We will be building a fence to secure whats ours. You can do the same.

  • Gary May 4, 2020 at 2:21 pm Reply

    I was saddened to see the signs go up indicating the private road and property. I live just down the hill from there and have been using that area to access the Bonneville Shore line trail since it was built many years ago. I have been hoping that short link to the trail allows us to get up on the trail and take a shorter walk than is available without it. We walk out dog in that area (Aspen way) about 5 days a week, all year long, and we have made some interesting observations. Since the coronavirus shut down, we are seeing way more people walking in that area. We used to go for a 2 mile walk and maybe see 2 or 3 other people walking, many times we would see no one. Today we saw over a dozen people so I am guessing when the coronavirus is over, foot traffic will decrease. Also, the only cars I have seen parking in that area have been construction workers that are working on other projects. With that said I am appalled that people walking by are acting like idiots. There is no excuse for throwing rocks and shouting obscenities.

  • Maureen Koeven May 4, 2020 at 5:48 pm Reply

    Hello everyone! I am a homeowner near the Bonneville trail on the end of a cul-de-sac. We built our home almost 4 years ago & sadly still have people cut through our yard and walk/run/bike right down our driveway. It’s quite amazing what people will do with no regard for others. I do believe that the Sharp’s have hikers etc cut through the property they live on and own because it’s almost a daily occurance for us. We have small children and it makes me feel unsafe. I am an avid user of the Bonneville trail & have no problem following the cities designated trails while keeping off personal property. It’s really not hard to do if you aren’t being lazy. There are no signs near our home on the actual trail telling people to stay on the trail/keep dogs on leashes. The city did tell us they are working on putting some up. Who knows if it will do any good considering the way some hikers have shown little respect for obvious flower beds & private concrete driveways. We considered putting up a fence but really don’t want to obscure the natural beauty of the mountain. Our hope is that people will think of how it would be for strangers to continually cut through their own yard & personal space then maybe think twice before doing it to others. We all need to respect and help each other out. There are plenty of public trails, paths, & access ways for everyone to enjoy!

  • Lisa Hudson May 5, 2020 at 6:42 am Reply

    I agree with the homeowners, people do not respect private property around here! We deal with it all the time and personally I don’t appreciate it. I am all for use of public lands but access through designated areas not people private property.

  • Ashley May 5, 2020 at 7:43 am Reply

    I was on the trail yesterday with my son and watched 2 people come up the side of someone’s yard on their bikes to get to the trail. It was a newer development I believe, but I was still a little shocked. One of them asked the other if it was okay and the other said yeah we always go this way. But also I was surprised how many newer houses are so close to the trail now. Cutting through private property is wrong, but you can’t be upset about how many people use the trail, if you choose to live beside it.

  • MT May 5, 2020 at 8:18 am Reply

    Who remembers being able to float the canal from logan canyon down through the golf course?
    I believe this story is another reminder of how the actions of some, will affect us all. Is there no decency left in the public?

  • Concrete Logan May 5, 2020 at 8:27 am Reply

    Yea fences are not ideal when you are trying to enjoy a view but probably the best solution to keep the peeps off your property. Just install it and be done otherwise you’re in for many years of frustration.

  • Lisa Ward May 5, 2020 at 11:59 am Reply

    The trail by this house has been there for over 10 years. I sympathize with the owners and think it’s completely ridiculous that people are so disrespectful and unacceptable. However most people like myself simply walk past their house, on the street, then on the trail and never come onto their property. This family had dogs loose in their front yard barking and charging. If you don’t want to live in a place where people walk by your house why would you build there? It’s obvious. They can build their own fence. And we need more access to the trails. These folks set themselves up to be angry all the time and they are spreading their bad energy in a place that so many people go to find joy and peace.

  • Teresa Ukrainetz May 5, 2020 at 5:01 pm Reply

    This article needs accuracy in reporting, even if it is about an emotional issue. Walking on a paved signed street is not the same as “cutting through our yard”.

    Is this really truly a private street? The female houseowner told me that because the street is not plowed by the city, the city allowed her to close access to the street. If the city does not plow your street, it is yours? If they do have such a special arrangement, explaining that on their private road sign might help the rest of us understand better. And I wonder, now that there is a second house being built there, will those folks have to get permission to walk or drive on the private “Sharp street”?

  • Rod hyatt May 5, 2020 at 8:01 pm Reply

    Look to what other cities have done that are already addressing this. Odgen took part of its trail system and the built a complex bike park and put it into their city park program with parking lot, restrooms and more. Keep going south down the Wasatch front and you’ll find amazing bike and hiking trails that are well-maintained and serviced. Logan needs to put more attention into this.

  • Kristin Lamb May 6, 2020 at 11:51 am Reply

    It’s Doug Sharp’s private property. Stay out! Put yourself in their place; just for a minute. Period.
    It’s too bad, but it’ll probably be the Sharp’s paying for a privacy fence. All because people are selfish.

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