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  1. #1
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! Marsh Creek Access

    below are excerpts from a few emails that i received over the weekend - none of this is from me, but i wanted to share it...

    Hello All,

    Today is a sad day for those of us that have enjoyed
    accessing Marsh Creek from the Struble Trail and
    Dorlan Mill Rd. Today I had the pleasure of meeting an
    agent of the landowner just as he was putting the
    finishing touches on a large metal/wire fence that now
    completely blocks the park access from Dorlan Mill
    road. Had I been about 30 minutes later I would have
    most likely been blocked in.

    I spoke to him briefly and here's what he had to say.
    He was generally friendly and non-confrontational,
    although he did not appears as though he was going to
    speak to me until I engaged him first. I asked him
    what was going on with the access, to which he replied
    "the only access to the trails of Marsh Creek are at
    the park entrance on Reeds or Chalfont roads".
    I asked why and he said that "the landowner has been
    denied access to develop this property so this
    entrance and the struble trail entrance at the mill
    are now closed until someone comes to their senses." I
    said that's a shame, what can we do, etc. He said "the
    landowner was only asking to build 20 houses on 40
    acres, it's not like he was building Eagleview or
    anything. I suggest if you want access and you vote,
    then don't vote for the incumbent." After this he
    didn't say anything else and returned to working on
    the fence.
    -------------
    Apparently this guy (John Shelton) is a developer who is trying to hold park access from Dorlans Mill and the Struble Trail ransom to build his development. He is currently involved in a couple of court cases about tying into existing sewer lines (see below) and this is how he deals with the flack he is getting.

    Developer locks horns with township officials
    By JOHN ROSSOMANDO, Special to Tri County
    04/10/2007

    UWCHLAN - A private developer has locked horns with township officials over his claim that he has the right to connect to a sewer main that was constructed over township property during the 1970s and is partially located in neighboring Upper Uwchlan.
    The dispute has forced township officials and developer John Shelton, president of Shryock Brothers Inc., to file legal claims and counterclaims, in their efforts to either force or inhibit that connection.
    Currently, two cases involving the dispute stand before the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission and a third, brought by the township, is in front of Chester County Common Pleas Judge Jacqueline Cody.
    Arguments stem from an easement placed across the property in 1977, when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania contracted with the township to provide a 100,000 gallon-per-day sewer connection for Marsh Creek State Park.
    Of that capacity, Uwchlan negotiated that it would take 50,000 gallons per day of that capacity, while leaving the other half under the state's control.
    However, a disputed interpretation of that easement lies at the heart of the problem.
    The township claims a 1985 agreement, establishing the Downingtown Area Regional Authority, limits the former Shryock paper mill to 1,000 gallons per day. The authority provides sewage disposal for Uwchlan, East Caln, the Borough of Downingtown and Caln.
    Township Solicitor Guy Donatelli said the municipality believes that limitation was "set in amber."
    The municipality's lawsuit against Shelton seeks to settle whether he can tie into the Marsh Creek sewer connection for his proposed development on his 44-acre tract and whether the 1,000-gallon limit still stands.
    "I can't understand how we are bound by an agreement because DARA didn't exist in 1977, and Uwchlan joined DARA and arbitrarily put a limit on the amount of new sewage flows," Shelton said. "There is nothing in the easement that restricts the connection."
    He contends his access to the sewer main is unlimited because Shryok, as a third party, is not bound by the DARA agreement, and consequently being forced to accept that limit is unfair.
    Shelton said under a 2005 reallocation of wastewater capacity across the DARA municipalities, Uwchlan received a 60,000-gallon-per-day share of the system's total 300,000 gallon-per-day total capacity.
    The developer claims the state park, on average year-round, uses an average of 4,000 gallons per day, although it doesn't use any of the capacity during the winter, which leaves enough capacity for its needs.
    Shryock requested access to 19,650 gallons per day in mid-2005 and again at the end of 2005 to connect its property to the Marsh Creek sewer main, but that request was refused.
    "Having been sued in a local court, we had to re-evaluate our legal position, and we, Shryock Brothers Inc., brought a PUC suit that is up for review in July 2006," Shelton said. "We are claiming that Uwchlan Township has been acting as a de facto public utility for over 20 years by providing direct sewer services for people outside their corporate limits, and they can only provide wastewater services to people in their community who have the ability to vote."
    The PUC's jurisdiction, Shelton said, is narrower and uses a "less politically motivated interpretation of the law." Should the utility commission decide in Shryock's favor, it could theoretically order a connection.
    The developer also seeks to have the commission declare that Uwchlan has collected illegal sewer rates, direct the reporting of all revenues collected since 2003, determine the amount of "illegal" rates collected in the same period and order a refund of those rates.
    "A municipality providing public-utility services to customers outside its corporate limits must file with (the PUC), tariffs showing all the rates established by the municipality and charged to customers outside its municipal limits," Shryock's attorneys wrote in their PUC filing. "The township never applied for, nor has the commission ever granted, a certificate of public convenience to the township to provide sewer services outside the township's corporate limits."
    This contention has also led Shelton to contest Hankin Group subsidiary Eagleview Environmental's application for PUC certification for the Eagleview sewage treatment plant.
    The sewer plant also serves portions of the Eagleview Corporate Center on the Upper Uwchlan side of the development.
    Although Hankin owns the plant, Shryock Brothers Inc. claims the township's stormwater management plan, filed with the state Department of Environmental Protection, establishes the township, not Hankin as the plant's "operator."
    Shelton said the Board of Supervisors declined to take dedication of the Hankin plant earlier this year.
    Donatelli said the township believes the Shryock and Hankin issues are unrelated.
    "For years, DEP has allowed Eagleview Environ-mental to run the plan, and when the township wants to take dedication, it can do so," Donatelli said.
    The Eagleview sewer plant issue could become a dead letter for Shryock, if the township decides not to fight DEP's March 7 order requiring the township to assume full ownership of the plant by May 15, 2007. The order also directs the township resurrect its municipal authority by July 17, 2007, to act as the plant's owner and operator.
    Donatelli believes DEP's goal is to have all sewer plants municipally owned and operated.
    Hankin Group and Upper Uwchlan officials could not be reached for comment.

  2. #2
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    f#ckin douchebag....

    i hope someone comes by and rips his fence out everytime he puts it up. (not that i would advocate that).

    i don't live there anymore, but that was a great spot to get out when i lived in West Chester and i know lots of bikers will be affected by this closure...

    that was your guys' weekly shop ride right?

    sucks!!!!

    but what i really can't understand is: why the park would build an entrance across private land. that seems pretty boneheaded.

  3. #3
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    yeah - that is where we typically ride...

    i cant agree more RE the access point there - that was the first thing i brought up... there MUST be an easment there - otherwise, what is the purpose of an emergency access road if you can access it???

    he is totally holding the wrong group hostage here... we will not stand aside watching with folded arms nor will keeping us out help his cause.

    the kicker is - im pretty sure this part of the properly is in UPPER uwchlan which is NOT the twp that is giving him a hard time... total c0ckbag!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowflag
    what is the purpose of an emergency access road if you can access it???
    yeah, like what if the township needs access to say THE DAMN at the bottom of that road...

    i predict the fence will not stand long; but in the meantime i hope you guys find a way to ride.

  5. #5
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    I actually accessed the park just as he was drilling the holes for the posts. He gave us a somewhat dirty look and said "last day guys" as we rode over the hole he had just finished drilling at the bottom of the trail entrance on the left of the fallen/cut trees. I don't see how it effects us too much seeing as we can simply ride up Dorlan Mill a few hundred feet more and cut threw the fields to the trails. I haven't been back since Friday so perhaps I am missing something.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by anth
    I I don't see how it effects us too much seeing as we can simply ride up Dorlan Mill a few hundred feet more and cut threw the fields to the trails.

    Um, yeah... unless you have the property owners permission to cut through said field, you are poaching, trespassing or whatever you want to call it. Now you'll have riders upsetting even more property owners surrounding the park.

    If you DO know the owner and have permission, that would be great and we should spread the word. Otherwise, Id say its wise NOT to just start cutting through there.

    There is a fairly large group of people working to get this resolved. If you would like to get involved in a positive way, let me know and I will send you contact info as I receive it.

  7. #7
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    some more info to pass on:

    There is definitely a trail on the far side of the mill. It leads to where the stream flowing from the dam intersects with the Brandywine. If you hang a right a little before the stream, it will take you to the fire road that intersects with the “normal” fire road that we always take. This trail is not well traveled and is really just a few paths used by local fishermen, so it could use a little (but not a lot of) cleanup. You should easily find your way through that area.

    also... RE the field at top of road:

    that field is privately owned and is leased to a “farmer” who uses it for hay. That farmer’s ex-wife and nearly adult kids live in the house next to the field. She and her son regularly hassle people that the see in the field, but they have no legal claim to do so. With that being said, the field has been used by fishermen to access to the lake for years and years…and they were using it again on Sunday.
    Last edited by shadowflag; 05-08-2007 at 09:20 AM.

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    Thanks for the info. I am sure this whole thing will not last long, assuming marsh creek and struble trail actually have proper legal easments. I don't believe he has the legal right to do anything, I only say this because my dad has a piece of property with a state wetlands easment on it and we can't eve walk throught the easment area. It is basically for all intents and purposes the states property.

  9. #9
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    got this in an email today...

    I talked to Curt Shroder's office yesterday and this guy is notorious for this kind of stuff. Apparently, nobody likes him. I was also told that he has been violent in the past and spent time in jail for assault. After hearing this information,and about the nails he has thrown down on the road behind the new fence, there is no telling what this guy is capable of. Using the adventurous route leaves options for him to set some kind of trap whether it be nails on the ground or something rigged in the fence. We are already trespassing, so I doubt we would have any recourse should someone get hurt. I think we might be better off finding another route as this could go on long term.

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    It seems like the guy is as much of a nut as I thought. I would be careful because you never know what someone like him is capable of. Also, sometimes people do stupid stuff like put a wire across a trail thinking it will just knock someone off their bike and ends up really hurting someone.

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    Maybe a bit confused, does this have anything to do with access to the park itself or just the trail that leads to the park? Can both sides of trails in the park still be accessed from the parking lots?

  12. #12
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    this is just the one access road off of dorlan mill road. all park parking lots (reeds rd & Chalfont rd) are fine.

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    Any changes/updates?

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    I was riding up dorlan mill today (the first time in a few weeks I took this path) and noticed that the fence blocking the entrance was flattened. Being the big puss that I am I still rode on up to the fields to enter the park. Post ride however I felt a bit more adventurous and decided to check it out as an exit (The fact that the fields are so overgrown that they look like a scene out of Jurassic park didn't hurt either.). The fence is knocked down enough that you can easily ride over it but the area immediately behind the fence is now home to a few hundred roofing nails. How much of the entrance does the builder actually control? The park entrance sign is just inside the downed tree zone so I can only assume that he has just a few feet (50 at best?) of the land.

    Also I would like to add that a group from PaTH was in the park today doing trail maintenance and I would like to commend them on the great job they were doing. The areas that they had been through were so much more inviting than the overgrowth they hadn't made it to yet. I am hoping to join them next time at either Marsh or French Creek.
    I live a life of paranoia. It keeps me safe!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by anth

    -content snipped-

    Also I would like to add that a group from PaTH was in the park today doing trail maintenance and I would like to commend them on the great job they were doing. The areas that they had been through were so much more inviting than the overgrowth they hadn't made it to yet. I am hoping to join them next time at either Marsh or French Creek.
    French Creek in on for June 10 (a week from this Sunday) We also typically go for a ride afterwards (to survey our handiwork) so if you want to join the ride, bring the bike.

    P.S. Forgot to say that we meet at the Hopewell Lake parking lot at 9:00am (the lake next to the ranger station.)
    Last edited by Grumpy; 05-28-2007 at 02:08 PM.

  16. #16
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    forwarded info below...

    "Got a call from Kurt Schroeder's office today. He would like us to meet him in the parking lot of Shamona Creek Elementary at 3:45pm on June 8th. From there, we will then move down to the fence site."

    Anybody wishing to join and make a good impression is welcomed.

  17. #17
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    Any updates?

    I accessed Marsh Creek via Reeds Rd. and checked out the problem area from the park side. Looks like some folks have been getting by... but I didn't go all the way to the road. So how did the meeting with Schroeder go? Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy
    French Creek in on for June 10 (a week from this Sunday) We also typically go for a ride afterwards (to survey our handiwork) so if you want to join the ride, bring the bike.

    P.S. Forgot to say that we meet at the Hopewell Lake parking lot at 9:00am (the lake next to the ranger station.)
    Just to update (and perhaps some insight to the problems of land access for MTB trails) We got zero turnout for our french creek work party (other than a couple dedicated path members)

    Do any of you ride in french creek? We are pushing the park management for new trails (and access to a couple of the previously closed trails) but that request (from mountain-bikers) doesn't carry much weight when we aren't even properly maintaining the trails we have access to now (at French Creek)

    If we were to schedule it would anybody here willing to volunteer for 3 hrs (9:00-12:00) work at a special trail day at french creek? (We need to schedule one because we simply didn't have enough hands at the normal PATH trail day to do ANY (ZERO, ZIP) maintenance over on the Miller's Point/Mill Creek side of the park which desperately needs it)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy
    Just to update (and perhaps some insight to the problems of land access for MTB trails) We got zero turnout for our french creek work party (other than a couple dedicated path members)
    How exactly is one supposed to find out when these days are? I've never seen ANY kind of schedule posted or published anywhere.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtskibum
    How exactly is one supposed to find out when these days are? I've never seen ANY kind of schedule posted or published anywhere.
    The schedule is posted here:

    http://www.patrailhands.org/

    I've had a crap year and my weekends through the end of July are busy so I'm guilty of not helping (but also guilty of not riding as well). Hopefully, I'll be able to make a couple of traildays in the fall.
    I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. - Thomas Jefferson

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    I find it hard to believe that Trailhands did anything at Marsh Creek late May. I can't even run down some trails.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by khill
    The schedule is posted here:

    http://www.patrailhands.org/

    I've had a crap year and my weekends through the end of July are busy so I'm guilty of not helping (but also guilty of not riding as well). Hopefully, I'll be able to make a couple of traildays in the fall.
    I don't think we will be able to get the add on trail day (to get the Miller's point/Mill creek trails in reasonable shape) on the website (too short notice) but as soon as we have a date scheduled I will post something to this thread, so you all will be notified.

    It is only a morning, and you will get that warm and fuzzy every time you ride a trail you had a hand in maintaining. There are normally several who ride after so you can just think of it as a long ride without all that riding
    Seriously, we appreciate (and need) any and all volunteers. French creek needs you

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by toastedsquidmelt
    I find it hard to believe that Trailhands did anything at Marsh Creek late May. I can't even run down some trails.
    Well we were there, about 10-15 people. As I recall, we basically split into three groups of 5. My group trimmed the lake trail (between the boat launch and Chalfont) then went up the blue trail from the Chalfont parking area (that had become almost impassible from rose and briar growth) then up the red trail to the blue and up and down the blue from the launch to the top of the hill where the green hits it. (the other two groups were working on the dam spillway side)

    If we had had more people we would have been able to cover more trails. you can only get so far in 3 hours.
    What trail are you referring to that is overgrown?

  24. #24
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    All trails leading to the tracks on the boat launch side. I think there is 3 or more. I dont know the color but if I took a guess I would say green. Only nice sections on that side and you guys missed them.

  25. #25
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    Helping

    I'll keep this thread somewhat hijacked to say that I will be paying more attention to the PaTH website for work days. I don't ride FC, but I should (?!), so I will help there first chance I get. I do ride MC, so ditto for helping there too. That said, I may not be even home for the weekends posted until October. But I guess October will be here sooner than we'd like it to be...

    Re. MC, I have definitely noticed an improvement in the trail areas Grump mentioned. I haven't had any issues with the short segments leading to the blue trail, but then again I know there is one that tends to be overgrown and sports a nice mudhole - so I use the others. Re. the dam side of MC, there are so many little trails over there that I don't think an army could clear all that in a week... I'm still pulling weeds out of my cassette!

    I defintely appreciate the work done - it's noticeable - and I will be there to help the very first day that I'm home on a work day. Heck, I could use the experience, since I built a little trail in my own little patch of woods in our backyard (shh - don't tell wifey... think she'll notice?!)

    Speaking of work, does anyone know off the top of their heads if other groups do trail work in the area? Seems they do, but I haven't hit Google yet or the respective state park sites to find out...

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