Trail walkers of the Grandview Ditch Trail parking area letter and request – Attend the Parks Commission Meeting, September 25

A letter from a representative of the trail walkers of the Grandview Ditch Trail parking area  —

Attend the Parks Commission meeting on September 25 to show support for keeping this public access.  More on the meeting in another post closer to the meeting.

Sept. 8,2017

Greetings, Park Commissioners,

I don’t know if you are aware of the controversy about the now restricted public access to the North end of the Ditch Road off of Grandview.  The Ditch Road, which runs along a small artery of the TID ditch, is under the purview of the Ashland Parks and Recreation.  It has had long public use, which the Park Dept. has recognized by their placement of Woof Waste disposers and trash cans.  It is also the North access for Strawberry-Hald Park.  In November of 2016, the property, with an address of 363 Grandview, but an access off Skycrest, was bought by a new owner, Mary Chilton.  Subsequently, she had a survey done, and, if she had not been aware of it previously, during the title search, she found that the parking area, which also has seen long use by people who need to drive to access the trail, was part of her private property.  In fact, her property (Tax lot 2600) extends across the Ditch Road and a bit below the ditch itself

About a month ago, a sign appeared at the side of the steep driveway leading to the parking area, saying “No Entry; Private Property; Your License Plate Numbers are being recorded; Trespassers will be Prosecuted.”  This was the first of a number of iterations of signs.  There have now been two articles in the Mail Tribune regarding this issue, one of August 28, and the other early this week, on Sept. 5.

Park Department head, Michael Black, has been in contact with the owner Mary Chilton and her husband, Rick McGraph.  People have continued to park in the area where they have always done until earlier this week, even though the owner had let air out of tires and called the police.  At one point, she even assaulted one of the trail walkers who had parked there.  Now, there are signs saying cars will be towed.  Also, at the base of the driveway leading to the parking area, new “Authorized Vehicles Only” signs have been posted, presumably by the Park Department

The continued ability to access and park at the North end of the trail is critical for many who walk there.  As I mentioned, it is also the only access from the North for Strawberry-Hald Park.

We, the trail walkers are asking, the Park Commissioners to make this a priority.  We would ask that you work to explore ways to purchase or otherwise acquire the portion of this property necessary so that trail walkers can continue to enjoy the access that they have traditionally had under all the previous owners.

We request that you put this issue as an item on your agenda for your regular meeting on Sept. 25.  We would like to know in advance that this will be an agenda item.  We are circulating a petition that we will present at that meeting which attests to the interests and commitment of the many folks who utilize that trail and that parking area.

Please do not hesitate to call or email me with questions, and I would expect a confirmation of the agenda of your meeting in advance.


Sherrill Morgan, representing the trail walkers of the Grandview Ditch Trail