"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

You hikers, get off my lawn

By on May 23, 2021 in Columnist with 0 Comments
Mike Cassidy

By Mike Cassidy


I’m a landowner — in truth, a pretty small acreage landowner in the bigger scheme of things  — but there are times when strangers appear to be veering towards my holdings, and a part of me wants to yell out a version of: “Hey, you kids, get off my lawn!”

I’m an American and property rights trumps all. Right?

So, I had to both laugh and feel a little chastened when I read Andy Dappen’s story this month about the generous land owners of Hay Canyon who have opened their land to create the Cashmere Canyons Preserve, some 8.5 miles of new trails for walkers, trail runners, birders and outdoor photographers.

In an extended piece Andy wrote for WenatcheeOutdoors, he quotes Jabe Blumenthal, one of the owners who made access to this property possible, explaining why the landowners are allowing public access:

“Cashmere Canyons is an unusual combination of  sweat-inducing yet not-too-steep climbing, in nature but not quite in wilderness, on four-abreast dirt roads rather than narrow trails, in open meadows rather than dense forest, with sweeping views in all directions. 

“We purchased these lands to protect them, not hoard them, and we think the best use of the land, after wildlife protection, is to permit as much public access as the habitat can sustain.

“We hope that in the future, when the population of the region has doubled or tripled, there will still be places where one can see deer and bear, cougars and coyotes, rattlesnakes and raptors, and on lucky days walk in solitude surrounded by a sea of wildflowers; where people can be neither above nor separate from nature, but in its midst. 

“If that’s still possible, it won’t be by accident or through ‘business as usual’ practices.  It will happen (or not happen) through the choices and investments made by the people and institutions of the Wenatchee Valley today.”

Andy mentions some European countries have built into law the opportunity to roam undeveloped lands, whether on private or public property. What is happening in Cashmere echoes that thinking.

“The ‘opportunity’ to roam is very different than the ‘right’ to roam,” writes Andy. “If this opportunity is appreciated rather than abused, the experience of these landowners may encourage other landowners to respond in kind.”

Susan Sampson reports a dozen people commented on her chicken coop article in the May issue when she posted it on her Facebook page. 

“Most were from friends and were just attagirls, but my younger sister’s comment was chilling,” said Susan.

“She had tired of her chickens anyway, but found a rattlesnake coiling itself around her watering can and decided it was time to quit being a suburban farmer. (She lives outside Tucson, AZ.)”

The clucking of chickens: Cool. The rattle of a snake, not so much.

Respect the earth and its caretakers, and enjoy The Good Life.

— Mike

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