Off the beaten path
Closing unofficial trails
by Patrick Dunn
Ann Arbor's parks hold many trails that literally run "off the beaten path," which came as an unpleasant surprise to two new homeowners who found unsanctioned trails in their backyard adjacent to Kuebler-Langford Nature Area. The owners, who asked to be identified only as "the Brown family," discovered two paths and numerous beer cans in the woods on their property at 630 Hampstead when they moved in in November. The property is tucked into the western edge of Kuebler-Langford (east of Bird Hills Nature Area). In a written statement, the family says the largest of the trails "bifurcates the property and runs from one side completely to the other."
The trails, which fork off unassumingly from the main Kuebler-Langford path, are now dotted with "No Trespassing" signs placed by the Browns, as well as "Trail Closed" signage posted by Ann Arbor Parks & Recreation. Jason Tallant, a natural areas technician with the parks department, says that unofficial trails crossing from parks onto residential (and especially railroad) property are a common problem and one that the city has little control over. "They just sort of appear," he says. Tallant says the city is working with the Michigan Mountain Biking Association to identify alternate trails to blaze in the spring.
[Originally published in March, 2013.]