Thursday, August 4, 2016

Trees, Animals and the Rich

Long time no write!  We have done not too much interesting.  Bike, hike, watch the rabbits.  That sort of thing.  The rabbits remain as cute as always.  Apparently none of the hawks or eagles that live up the hill eat them, because they're often out in the open and are fairly relaxed.

There has been hiking.  We did one trail the other day (the Highschool Trail) which was not pleasant.  Too much gravel on the trail makes it uncomfortable.  We've been back on the Tradition Plateau trail system which is better.  There are mosquitoes.  I've started wearing anti-mosquito bracelets, it's like hiking carrying citronella candles.

Today we rode the mountain bikes up the East Lake Sammamish trail to see if any progress had been made on paving the last two trail segments.  We saw some wild life.  Look bottom right in the corner, there is a stag in the under brush.  He started out in full sun, but it took too long to get the camera out.

We also saw this bird, he/she is a Blue Heron.

This is one of the recently paved sections of the trail.  Notice the attractive retaining wall, and the width of the pavement.  It's 12 feet wide.

Here is a brief history of the trail which I found here.
In April 1997, the Land Conservancy purchased the active railroad corridor from the Burlington-Northern/Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) and then sold it to King County a year later. In March 2006, after nearly a decade of litigation, the 11-mile trail officially opened as an interim gravel trail, all with the hopes of paving it sometime in the future.
During that decade of litigation, the landowners along the lake encroached into the easement. They blocked passage along the trail with fences and large pieces of concrete.  They decided that they "owned" the corridor that separated their lakeside property from the land close to the road.  Had they taken the time to inspect their deeds and title insurance documents, they would have noticed the rail easement and the fact that no, they did not own it.

They have been fighting tooth and nail every step of the way against trail maintenance and upgrades.  One of the things they continued to do was the building of fences, gates and planting of landscaping on land they did not own.  It looks like they may have finally run out of options for suing King County.

East Lake Sammamish Trail – Federal Court Ruling in King County’s Favor
On April 20, 2016 Federal District Court Judge Marsha J.Pechman ruled in King County’s favor on property ownership and use issues within the East Lake Sammamish Trail (ELST) corridor. The ruling recognizes that King County possesses all property rights in the ELST corridor that were previously owned by BNSF.  Along substantial portions of the ELST, King County owns the corridor in fee.  Where the railroad acquired corridor property by “adverse possession” over 100 years ago, King County currently owns a “railroad easement” that is 100’ wide (subject to prior legal settlements or BNSF property sales).  Even where King County’s ownership is limited to a railroad easement, this robust form of ownership allows for “the exclusive use and possession of the area on, above, and below the surface of the corridor.”  The federal court’s recognition of King County’s property rights in the ELST corridor is important because it allows the County to move forward with completing the last section of the ELST, known as South Sammamish B.” Once constructed, this “golden-spike” segment will complete the 44-mile regional trail corridor from Ballard to Issaquah for public use and enjoyment.

If you read the full article, you get a sense of the entitlement these people feel with regards to the trail.  They were told not to encroach, they did it anyway, and the county removed their structures.  There are fairly strict codes on trail widths and layouts and King County wants to adhere to them.

This one of the most expensive homes along Lake Sammamish.  Zillow shows it valued at $11.7 million, yearly property taxes are $88,973.  The person owns the end of the point.  We were driving by this afternoon on the way home and saw a helicopter landing on the front yard.  This Google Earth from 2013 captured a helicopter on the helipad.  How cool would that be?  I do wonder how the neighbors feel about the noise.

Other than this puny offering, I have nothing else to report.


  1. Why do so many rich people believe that their money makes anything they do perfectly okay. Somehow that sense of entitlement must be drilled into them.

  2. That trail looks nice to ride. How do the mosquito repellent bracelets work? We have not tried those. Have you seen the little fans you can wear that pump out some sort of repellent? Those look intriguing. Our favorite new device in the war against the mozzie is our electronic raquet. A little clumsy to hike with but so fun to swat at the little devils and hear a satisfying ZAP. Die mozzies die! We are in dry North Dakota now and have finally gotten ahead of the mosquito belt, I do believe. We have houseflies but no blackflies, deerflies, or mosquitoes. Life is indeed good after what we endured over the past month or two!