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The Silliness of a Trail Fee

February 25, 1992

I read with interest Earl Bebout's dilemma regarding access to his property through the popular Ojai Valley Trail ("Mira Monte Resident Battles County Over Trail Fee," Jan. 23).

Bebout and his neighbors are justified in demanding this access fee be revoked.

The silliness of this fee can be illustrated thus: You can walk or bike the entire 9.5-mile trail from end to end every day for free, but if you want to cross its 10-foot width it will cost you a $100 license fee plus $50 per year.

The county should not only rescind this charge but refund all money collected. And it should do this not just because it is silly. The creation of recreational properties, like the Ojai Valley Trail, is usually long, difficult and expensive. Support of local property owners is essential for such projects to succeed--a lesson the Cal State University system learned the hard way from its move to acquire Taylor Ranch.

Now plans are being laid to extend the Ojai Valley Trail all the way to the beach. Thanks to the treatment the Mira Monte residents have received from the county, you can bet the property owners in the next section will think twice about supporting the trail.

GEORGE MORGAN, Santa Paula

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