Leesa Novak: Public access comes with responsibility, stewardship

As the county commissioners have apparently made a decision to keep the gates open on High Heaven Road, I would like to offer this map for those of you who wish to recreate in the area.

The map clearly designates the location of private timberland and public Bureau of Land Management boundaries. And rules are clearly posted on the lawfully allowable recreational activities for each parcel of private timberland surrounding the three-mile stretch of High Heaven Road between the gates.

The entire perimeter of forestland which directly borders High Heaven Road between the east and west gates is privately owned.

All Weyerhaeuser land is open only to people who purchase and possess a recreational lease. Hampton and Hancock lands have clear signage designating acceptable recreational uses.

Restrictions on use of BLM land beyond the west gate are posted on the agency website. At the present time, fire season restrictions have been posted and are in place.

Please remember that the rules change in accordance with season, so know before you go. Please remember that you are a guest on someone else’s property.

Please remember that residents of High Heaven Road would appreciate your courtesy as you drive up through their rural residential neighborhoods on gravel. Please follow the rules and recreate safely so that everyone can enjoy this beautiful area.

 This area is a gift. As you pass through the gate, you enter into a role of stewardship.

Most of all, please remember that people have the power to protect or destroy a forest. It becomes your responsibility as soon as you pass through an open gate.

This map is offered in an effort to assist people in knowing their boundaries and recreating responsibly.