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Kingston trail may be closed to public

KINGSTON — Among the recent efforts to establish recreation trails throughout North Kitsap, there is one pathway that has been quietly used by area residents for more than two decades.

But the land owner who resides next to the popular path wants to make it part of his property.

Alan Mundell of Kingston is petitioning the Kitsap County Department of Public Works to vacate an easement that runs within his 20 acres of land, west of the unpaved portion of Lindvog Road. If he succeeds, the property would then be put up for auction, allowing the public to bid on and purchase the site.

The path starts on an unpaved portion of Lindvog and continues for about 650 feet before connecting to other paths that are spread throughout the Kingston Farms and Kingston View neighborhoods.

The strip of land was originally intended to be a county road, but was never developed, said Robert McGinley of the Kitsap County right-of-way division.

McGinley said while the site is a county-owned piece of property, it is not necessarily open to the public for pedestrian, equestrian or car use.

Mundell said he wants to purchase the land to connect his properties to create bigger pasture land. He said he does not intend to develop it but may use it for his horses. The Kingston resident also expressed concerns about people trespassing on the private property and his children’s well-being, as they also use the land in question.

Mundell said he would not object to leaving the easement open until another pathway to connect Lindvog and Parcell could be opened within a reasonable time, such as this fall.

In April 2001, the Public Utility District received a permit to install a water line along the property. When this occurred, Mundell noted that people started taking advantage of the widened open path with their horses. He said he’s talked with other neighbors who understand his point of view of closing off the trail in an effort to prevent trespassing.

McGinley said other county departments that would have an interest in this land do not have a problem with the parcel being vacated.

But area residents, like Scott McClure, have a history with the easement.

The community has been using the path as a route to get back and forth through the neighborhoods between Parcel and Lindvog Roads for years, McClure said. He also claimed that Mundell has tried to keep people off the trail in the past by knocking down trees and blocking it with natural debris, but said he and others would just crawl over the obstacles.

“I know how I felt when this trail kept getting blocked, I’m sure these kids would feel the same,” McClure said.

The decision is now in the hands of the county commissioners and they plan to sit down in August and discuss the property situation during a work study session.

McGinley has received letters from several residents in the area for and against the vacation, including one from a group that is currently trying to develop walking trails throughout Kingston.

The Kingston Citizens Advisory Committee and its sub-group, the Kingston Parks Trails and Open Space committee, have recommended that the county not to vacate the easement.

After interviewing nearly a dozen households with residents that use the trail and walking the site itself, members of the committee found the path is utilized often by residents in the area.

KPTOSC members also found that the amenity provides non-motorized access between Parcell and Lindvog roads — something that does not officially exist today.

But because the easement is adjacent to private properties, the committees have also recommended the county look at whether alternative routes were available, if the easement was vacated. Optional routes could include formalizing existing paths off Berry Street or St. Peters.

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