It’s taken six months, but Ron Acosta can now drive his ATV on the Chaparral Ranch Trail near his house courtesy of the Forest Service.
Back in January, Acosta contacted the Roundup about a complaint he made to the Town of Payson about a neighbor that took it “upon himself to block the public access of ATVs to enter the Houston Mesa Loop Trail.”
The neighbor lived next to the Forest Service easement road the agencies use for service vehicle access to the area.
During the Jan. 28 council meeting, Sheila DeSchaaf, deputy town manager and public works director, explained the history of the easement complicated the resolution.
Before any development in the area, the Forest Service used the Chaparral Ranch Trail for vehicle access. Once the Chaparral Pines development completed, the town took over the easement and dedicated it “for equestrian and hiking.” But the town also continued to allow Forest Service vehicles access.
A new owner of property next to the trail decided to block access to off-road vehicles from the understanding motorized vehicles were not allowed.
The problem has festered until July 8 when DeSchaaf told the council the Forest Service determined the easement road they use also allows for off-road vehicle access to the public.
“The Forest Service has reached out to the property owners to resolve the issues for all users,” said DeSchaaf.
She did say that recent wildfires and the evacuation “may have slowed that process” but the town looks “forward to the resolution of access to that property.”