The Ditch Road Trail offers Ashlanders a pleasant walk on level terrain along a Talent Irrigation District canal between Grandview Drive and Strawberry Lane, but new residents at the north end of the trail have decided to forbid walkers from parking on their property.
The owners have every right to do that, but it might be nice of them to reconsider. It's understandable that walkers are incensed that a parking area they've been using for years is suddenly off-limits, but pushing the issue isn't likely to end well.
The Ditch Road is public, and the property owners cannot prevent people from using it. Access is another story. Resident Rick McGrath told the Daily Tidings that he and Mary Chilton, who bought the property about 10 months ago, are concerned about "who might show up" to walk on the Ditch Road, although they don't want to close the trail.
That's good, because it's not going to happen. It's unfortunate that Chilton didn't investigate the status of the Ditch Road before buying the property.
One regular trail user has asked the city to claim the parking area through eminent domain. That's not going to happen, either.
It's possible a case could be made for a prescriptive easement under Oregon law by demonstrating that claimants have made continuous use of a portion of property for 10 years. Or the two sides might talk it over. That would be the neighborly thing to do.
For now, hikers should hike but not park.