Sunday, July 7, 2013

Unbelievable Land Management on Small Scale Private Ownership

Prudential Real Estate
Maybe I should have said mismanagement. It's easy to point out flaws of the evil big government mismanagement of public lands, I mean, after all they are such a giant target and the flaws of what they do are so glaringly apparent. But there are literally millions of smaller, even tinier targets that when collective brought together, they make themselves look like Goliath and the Government that of David. These collective smaller targets are called Private Property Owners. Of course it's easy to not notice them as they do what they do on such a micro-scale. But if you are intuitive enough and aware of your surroundings, you can never miss these glaring mistakes. Looking through some real estate info on the Internet over in and around Anza California today, I stumbled across this advertisement which is the exact property across from my old property and home on Table Mountain. Of course it was an older Ad and the property is no longer for sale. As you can see from the photo to the top right here, this is location is Table Mountain just east of the town of Anza California and it's the actual view across the street from my old front yard off Burnt Valley Rd. I was here visiting my old place around April 2013 with Patrick Dennis and Mary Ann Kiger, just before we went to the South Fork San Jacinto Canyon trek. We asked the present owner of my old place who was selling the property. I never ever knew of any owner of this piece as it was never lived on or developed to any degree before. But the Lady who now lives in my old place said the guy was selling it because he ran out of money. Even though you see some chaparral in the picture here, down below he stripped it of much old growth Manzanita for clearing a building pad in the glen and if that wasn't bad enough, he also cut down two of the original forest remnants of one large and one small Coulter Pine. Seriously, of all things, he cut out the most important outstanding features of this property, which actually would have sold it. The best location for putting any home from a buyers point of view would be on the rocky outcropped ridge on the western side of the property that actually had the best 180 degree view of the entire Anza Valley. Needless to say I walked down to photo document those trees for writing about the former forested area which once thrive here. Whatever!

Former Listing of Prudential Real Estate

59885 Table Mountain Trail Anza, CA 92539

Here is a much better view of Cahuilla Mountain from this Table Mountain property. Incredibly, the original sale of this property was $35,000 for almost 4 view mountain top acres of land. I assume it went into foreclosure and was put on Auction back in March of this year 2013. The Auction had only seven bids with the winning bid which won the property at a steal at $5,000. Can you believe it ? Actually with the major economic downturn which to me actually hit in 2007 along with the excessively rapid rise in Fuel prices, Anza experienced a major real estate shutdown and many properties did go into foreclosure. Seriously, look at most of the real estate listings up there and many sales are Bank owned.
Can you imagine the interest in this land at the original price had the owner left that land alone ? The shock of the Coulter Pines being chained sawed down was reminiscent of the Chainsaw Massacre on Rattlesnake Mountain which I encountered the hostility of those neighbours from Sky Ranch Community guilty of the Conservation Area trespass and protected plant destruction I wrote about Here . This isn't the only example of private land mismanagement. It's everywhere in the back country. Someone will buy property on a mountainside with impossible access and will be determined to conquer it. In the process they create an ecological mess that is hard to correct. While out on San Felipe Rd with Richard Halsey and his Graduate Student assistant Dylan, we encountered just such an example behind the San Diego County Sheriff Sub-Station on a steep mountainside where someone had hired a company to bulldoze an improbable road access up a steep mountainside to a outcropping rocky knoll where they constructed a building pad for their dream home. Clearly destructive and almost impossible to maintain, and there will be no quick fire route escape access either. If my camera batteries hadn't gone out I would have photographed this place. Nevertheless, you all know where to find it just south of R.D.'s Log Cabin on San Felipe Rd (S-2) just behind the Sheriff Sub-Station.

Photo: Mine

I know, not much to look at with this photo (and I wasn't in the mood to climb down for a better shot), but that's the point, it use to be when the Coulter Pine trees were there! This seriously is almost the carbon copy of what happened to those Torrey Pines in El Cajon CA. I'm sure they made use of the larger logs which were put to good use as firewood. I seriously have no idea why they would cut down both of these trees.
Image -

The Table Mountain development I believe was started sometime back in the early 1970s. Burnt Valley Rd was at one time the major highway leaving east out of Anza Valley. If I was to judge how that map was drawn up, there was never any real forethought that went into taking into consideration the actual geologic features or any other on the ground geography by walking through studies done in deciding how this map should be laid out. It's reminiscent of the film "Junior Bonner" where Jr Bonner's (Steve McQueen) fiction brother in the film, Curly Bonner (Joe Don Baker) a real estate Huckster with his Reate Rancheros retirement land scheme over in Prescott Valley ? Never mind, I just watched the film again last Wednesday. One of my classic favourites. It's also reminiscent of the way the British relinquished their Empire's occupation land holdings around the globe after the World War II and gave free autonomy (with strings of course) to Crown approve Puppets who ruled over boundaries which were hastily drawn up for what was expedient for British interests. In the process, historical tribal and cultural lands were ignored or disrespected and mankind is paying for those irresponsible results ever since right down to the present. Seriously, look up the reasons for many of the major squabblings and conflicts going on presently and somewhere is a former European Colonial Power behind the curtain pulling levers and pushing buttons. 

Credit: Gayle M. Woodsum

Land development when irresponsibly thrown together on a shoestring budget has the same consequences on down the road. When folks buy land in the rural areas, you need to do your homework on not only the land in question's history, but also that particular region area. I've seen some awesome view places in pristine locations, but access can be almost impossible and a nightmare during floods or snow storms. They can also be death traps in fire. Also take note of how your potential neighbour's are taking care of their land. Much like a typical modern scene in the photo above where landowners in rural Colorado take care of their land the same way many folks did in Anza Valley. Or for that matter what they are doing with it. There are still a lot of Kooks out there. Your Real Estate agent may be helpful, but appreciate that they will many times do anything to make the deal go through, same with the developer. Look at the time and effort put into proper road construction. Often times these offroad nightmares where only built to sweeten the property deal without any forethought or care as to future troubles. And for Pete's Sake, take care of that land properly by not letting it get run down. In some cases, the owners are forced to do things they shouldn't in order to fit their dream onto the the lack of insight lot creation created by the developer. That Table Mountain Ranchette  scheme is a prime example. Nightmare roads that no one can fix even if they had the money and an irresponsible Water System that was less than adequate to provide for the needs of hundreds of residents. It was nothing more than a buyer's lure. Despite all of this, a private landowner has a responsibility to the land. Seriously, you moved out there because you think the city sucked, so why develop something that is the mirror image of what you left. Don't be a junk collector, this is another issue with private landowners.

The average person can be compared to a child, who looks up to Government & Big Business as an Authority figure. Like a child, it's the old saying - "Like Father Like Son" ? The average land owner follows the examples of those taking the lead. There have been times I often thought there should be a proper Eco-Land Management course and certification requirement before a person is allowed to purchase property. And like any license, before any renewal, it comes only after careful inspection of the property to verify the property owner has kept the requirements under the law. Well yes, of course this is ridiculous, and would involve more bureaucratic insanity along with all the manner of under the table cheating and fudging that goes along with such programs. You know how humanity is ? But the truth is, Earth is also ruined by the billions of little people. Unfortunately, most folks often forget this when they join causes and movements to fight against some big Industry pursuit or Government  Policy. It falls on everybody. *Sigh* Still, can you believe it, $5,000 greenbacks for an awesome four acre view lot ?  I believe that's about what those lots went for back in the early 1970s.

"A sense of place is the sixth sense, an internal compass and map made by memory and spatial perception together.” —Rebecca Solnit
BTW, little off topic, but here is a hiking trip up Cahuilla Mountain by David Lockeretz of "Nobody Hikes in L.A." The pictures are beautiful, especially when you get up above it all and appreciate beautiful landscapes untouched by the Human Stain.
Seriously though, think about what I just said and take GOOD CARE of your LAND. Enjoy the pics below.
The example of a death trap area can be found in the link on the Yarnell Hill death trap area for which 19 firefighters lost their lives as a result of no escape outlet. Please don't ever expect anyone to save your material belongings in a death trap area chose out of a bad decision choice. Do your homework, the lives you save may be your family:
The Search for Clues in the Yarnell Hill Fire
"An aerial photograph of the site where 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite firefighting crew, died. The visible road was made by a bulldozer to retrieve the bodies."


  1. Interesting article. And, yes, there are a LOT of bank-owned properties in Anza. The house next to the horse ranch where I board my horses is bank-owned and the bank is doing nothing with it...just holding onto it, waiting for prices to rise again. We've looked at a few properties up there, but decided against buying anything in Anza due to their water problems.
    ~~Cheryl Ann~~

    1. Well, the water situation is different everywhere there, and I have no idea what is going on with that ridiculous Indian Lawsuit either. Controversy always seems to be becoming the norm more and more these days.


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