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  1. #1
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    Anyone else ever fantasize about buying a steep piece of land?

    Sometimes I have these pie in the sky dreams about buying a steep piece of land that is otherwise trash and building MTB trails on it. I'll fly around on Zillow looking for a spot.

    This one looks like it could get someone in trouble really quickly: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/7...89024010_zpid/
    200 acres for $80,000 with no legit way to access it. Seems like you could do a lot with a slope like that!

    For reference Rockville Park is 633 acres, that always gives me a ballpark.

  2. #2
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    Here's a cool site for looking at big parcels.

    https://www.landwatch.com/

  3. #3
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    Might want to check out the volcanic activity...
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKXC View Post
    Sometimes I have these pie in the sky dreams about buying a steep piece of land that is otherwise trash and building MTB trails on it. I'll fly around on Zillow looking for a spot.
    I
    This one looks like it could get someone in trouble really quickly: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/7...89024010_zpid/
    200 acres for $80,000 with no legit way to access it. Seems like you could do a lot with a slope like that!

    For reference Rockville Park is 633 acres, that always gives me a ballpark.
    Daily. There is a 20 acre parcel very close to me I sometimes (cough, often) ride (cough, build) on I could have a lift line and soda machine on lol. Fantasy right? Need to monetize it somehow or if you’re filthy rich, just go nuts and make it private.

  5. #5
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    Allow a taco truck at the bottom, and the people will come.
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

    Thrill Bikers Unite!

  6. #6
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    This one already has some fun trails on it!

    https://www.landwatch.com/El-Dorado-.../pid/332329863

  7. #7
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    For sure!

    I am always checking out the ridge on the 680 stretch to Cordelia, east of freeway. I think you could do allot with 40 acres if you owned the land.

    Group buy?

    Sweat Buster Helmet padding, Why suffer with sweat in your face & glasses? traxfactory.com

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TraxFactory View Post
    For sure!

    I am always checking out the ridge on the 680 stretch to Cordelia, east of freeway. I think you could do allot with 40 acres if you owned the land.

    Group buy?

    Sweat Buster Helmet padding, Why suffer with sweat in your face & glasses? traxfactory.com
    Yep, that's right where I grew up so I've always looked at those hills with fondness. I did a docent-led hike with the Solano Land Trust out there and they said a lot of it is owned by PG&E and they were hoping to do windmills but people were not into that idea 20 years ago so they are just sitting on it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKXC View Post
    Yep, that's right where I grew up so I've always looked at those hills with fondness. I did a docent-led hike with the Solano Land Trust out there and they said a lot of it is owned by PG&E and they were hoping to do windmills but people were not into that idea 20 years ago so they are just sitting on it.
    I'm remembering a single prop mega windmill on that stretch...pge fail? There is a parcel available but looks like its in the flat area..

    I've been oogling land for same reasons for many years.

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  10. #10
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    I heard this is pervasive in Texas. Mountain bikers build their own bike trails in their massive properties. Then many of them are open to the public for a fee/waiver.

    Driving around California, you see soooooo many hills and potential trail areas. But... there are none. Private property? Restricted? Etc?
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    I heard this is pervasive in Texas. Mountain bikers build their own bike trails in their massive properties. Then many of them are open to the public for a fee/waiver.

    Driving around California, you see soooooo many hills and potential trail areas. But... there are none. Private property? Restricted? Etc?
    Part of it could be laws. I know I posted a picture of a sidewalk jump line we have here in Bentonville. The first question several Californians asked was who pays when you get sued for some kid crashing. In Arkansas that's not a possibility if there is no access charge and land owners can cover themselves fairly well even with a charge. I don't know about Texas though.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post

    Driving around California Etc?
    Sort of answered your own question

    California land of regulation and lawsuits....



    Sweat Buster Helmet padding, Why suffer with sweat in your face & glasses? traxfactory.com

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuckerjt07 View Post
    Part of it could be laws. I know I posted a picture of a sidewalk jump line we have here in Bentonville. The first question several Californians asked was who pays when you get sued for some kid crashing. In Arkansas that's not a possibility if there is no access charge and land owners can cover themselves fairly well even with a charge. I don't know about Texas though.
    All qualified with a big fat "Not a Lawyer." Attitudes on land use and liability for safety issues are pretty different in CA vs elsewhere. I kinda suspect that even still these land owners in Texas are opening themselves up to some liability, given they're opening their land up for the public and not enforcing waivers (every place I've ever ridden like this is honor system). If someone rides without a waiver and gets hurt, they're probably responsible in some way, but I doubt any court would uphold that to any significant degree.

    Another side of this is there is a very different attitude on how your neighbor uses their land here vs elsewhere. In many parts of the South your land is yours and you can do pretty much whatever you want on it provided it's legal. My grandparents live on a lake in South Carolina, and their neighbors (maybe a quarter mile away) get drunk and shoot hundreds of AK-47 rounds on their property basically every day. When the police were called in the past, they basically said "it's their property, so we can't do anything. If anything on your property gets hit by stray fire or they're trespassing, we can do something." Can you imagine that in CA? You could probably sue for the noise alone here. This is the same state where people fought tooth and nail against helmet laws for motorcycle riders under 21.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rafekett View Post
    All qualified with a big fat "Not a Lawyer." Attitudes on land use and liability for safety issues are pretty different in CA vs elsewhere. I kinda suspect that even still these land owners in Texas are opening themselves up to some liability, given they're opening their land up for the public and not enforcing waivers (every place I've ever ridden like this is honor system). If someone rides without a waiver and gets hurt, they're probably responsible in some way, but I doubt any court would uphold that to any significant degree.
    If it's like Arkansas there is no need for a waiver. If you open your property up for recreation, even if you charge but that is only to offset maintenance and such, you cannot be successfully sued by a user.

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tuckerjt07 View Post
    If it's like Arkansas there is no need for a waiver. If you open your property up for recreation, even if you charge but that is only to offset maintenance and such, you cannot be successfully sued by a user.
    Very cool! It looks like we have something similar on the books here in California, it's called a Recreational Use Statute. Stricter than Arkansas it seems. Texas also has this in place. Some good info here: https://www.tahoedailytribune.com/ne...immunity-laws/.

    This jogged my memory to Sierra Pacific Industries, which does precisely what we're talking about here: Sierra Pacific Industries - Sierra Pacific Industries - Recreation Access. I seem to remember they closed off public access (temporarily maybe?) this summer due to fire risk, another tricky factor in opening up private land to recreation here in CA.

  16. #16
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    If private property in California is being used for recreation, the property owner is generally immune from liability, by statute, if certain conditions are met. This is a good overview. Worth bookmarking.

    https://www.tahoedailytribune.com/ne...immunity-laws/

    Of course an injured person (or their family, or their insurance company) can still sue, which can cost time and money and hassle for the private property owner, which is one reason why most people/corporations probably don't want people trespassing on their land.

  17. #17
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    Liability is just one aspect. Zoning is another. I am in deep rural Monterey county, and the land I own is steep as all get out, and zoned RC40. A lot of farming can be done without any sort of permits required. But not much else. Don't cut down any oak or madrone larger than 6" diameter, you need a permit for that. The maximum amount of dirt you can move is somewhere in the vicinity of 50 cubic yards, total, and needs a permit. Cutting any sort of trails in for any purpose are subject to an administrative permit, which they then love to push for EIR and archeological studies. No grading may be allowed to cross slopes that are in excess of 30%, no grading is allowed up or down slopes in excess of 20%, no dirt or detritus may be deposited on the upslope of existing oak trees. Wood rat nests are protected, not to be disturbed. This is for private land, land that you own. If a neighbor decides to call the county on you, the county has very broad leeway to poop straight down your throat.

    You can push back against the county, since the code enforcement officials are generally not as aware as they should be of their own county laws, but once they get called out to your property, they are on a mission to nail you for something. It is expensive, time consuming, and insanely frustrating waging that kind of war.
    hold my beer...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtotheF View Post
    Liability is just one aspect. Zoning is another. I am in deep rural Monterey county, and the land I own is steep as all get out, and zoned RC40. A lot of farming can be done without any sort of permits required. But not much else. Don't cut down any oak or madrone larger than 6" diameter, you need a permit for that. The maximum amount of dirt you can move is somewhere in the vicinity of 50 cubic yards, total, and needs a permit. Cutting any sort of trails in for any purpose are subject to an administrative permit, which they then love to push for EIR and archeological studies. No grading may be allowed to cross slopes that are in excess of 30%, no grading is allowed up or down slopes in excess of 20%, no dirt or detritus may be deposited on the upslope of existing oak trees. Wood rat nests are protected, not to be disturbed. This is for private land, land that you own. If a neighbor decides to call the county on you, the county has very broad leeway to poop straight down your throat.

    You can push back against the county, since the code enforcement officials are generally not as aware as they should be of their own county laws, but once they get called out to your property, they are on a mission to nail you for something. It is expensive, time consuming, and insanely frustrating waging that kind of war.
    Thank you. That is the exact land I'm thinking about. 101 South, 1 South... empty hills everywhere.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Thank you. That is the exact land I'm thinking about. 101 South, 1 South... empty hills everywhere.
    Monterey county is a giant dysfunctional HOA. San Benito county, things are apparently way looser. My only advise going in would be as follows:

    Check the county ordinance, and pay attention to the different zoning allowances.

    Talk to the locals.

    Get a feel for the neighbors.

    Try to buy property without too many road or PGE easements.
    hold my beer...

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    This one already has some fun trails on it!

    https://www.landwatch.com/El-Dorado-.../pid/332329863
    I'm down for 0.05% of that price, right now! Just need 5-150 more peeps!
    I get to park a trailer or tiny home for my visits...wait, can we build a cabin city? And we'd all need to form an LLC to protect our other stuff from litigious interlopers. And we can grow lots of pot! Sign me up. Daydream complete....no, it's just starting!!!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    I heard this is pervasive in Texas. Mountain bikers build their own bike trails in their massive properties. Then many of them are open to the public for a fee/waiver.

    Driving around California, you see soooooo many hills and potential trail areas. But... there are none. Private property? Restricted? Etc?
    And you have to drive like 6hrs to get to them. It's pretty bad in Texas. Some places like Dallas, Austin, SA, have trails around like in city parks and the like and some areas not too far away, but some of these ranches where there are some trails are way the hell out in the middle of nowhere and it's depressing to have to drive so far just to ride your bike.

    What was real disappointing in CA when I lived there was the lack of trails on the highway 50 corridor. So much terrain and possibilities, but damn near nothing. At least on 80 in the high country there's some and it seems to be expanding. The general lack of trails in the high country is disturbing, not the wilderness areas, but there's tons of forest where it would be great, like in the Capital Forest in WA, or around Rainier, or Flagstaff, AZ, and so on. If you build it, they will come IME.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  22. #22
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    Diablo MX, formerly Sand Hill Ranch ran MX races for years on private land. Later Phil Anderson (owners son) ran MTB races. Seems like they were frequently closed over the years due too regulatory BS or at least that what the word was.

    MX heroes like Decoster, Lackey, Magoo, Hannah and more all got to shred the private track. Thing is flat as a pancake now.. No more hill.

    Ya, im old....braaaap

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  23. #23
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    And you have to drive like 6hrs to get to them. It's pretty bad in Texas. Some places like Dallas, Austin, SA, have trails around like in city parks and the like and some areas not too far away, but some of these ranches where there are some trails are way the hell out in the middle of nowhere and it's depressing to have to drive so far just to ride your bike.

    What was real disappointing in CA when I lived there was the lack of trails on the highway 50 corridor. So much terrain and possibilities, but damn near nothing. At least on 80 in the high country there's some and it seems to be expanding. The general lack of trails in the high country is disturbing, not the wilderness areas, but there's tons of forest where it would be great, like in the Capital Forest in WA, or around Rainier, or Flagstaff, AZ, and so on. If you build it, they will come IME.
    That's the thing man. Soooo much terrain in ca
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by TraxFactory View Post
    Diablo MX, formerly Sand Hill Ranch ran MX races for years on private land. Later Phil Anderson (owners son) ran MTB races. Seems like they were frequently closed over the years due too regulatory BS or at least that what the word was.
    No regulatory BS here:

    https://www.southbayriders.com/forums/threads/123876/

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TraxFactory View Post
    Diablo MX, formerly Sand Hill Ranch ran MX races for years on private land.
    Ya, im old....braaaap
    I raced the Hangover Marathon there a few years... Rodney Smith cleaned up those years.. 90's

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob-o View Post
    I raced the Hangover Marathon there a few years... Rodney Smith cleaned up those years.. 90's
    Hell ya! as did I... Godzilla and wall rides!

    Ok, we now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    What was real disappointing in CA when I lived there was the lack of trails on the highway 50 corridor. So much terrain and possibilities, but damn near nothing. At least on 80 in the high country there's some and it seems to be expanding. The general lack of trails in the high country is disturbing, not the wilderness areas, but there's tons of forest where it would be great, like in the Capital Forest in WA, or around Rainier, or Flagstaff, AZ, and so on. If you build it, they will come IME.
    I did a bunch of exploring up the west side of the Sierras this summer looking at potential bikepacking routes. I was blown away by the potential up there and the almost total lack of MTB trails. The maps I have showed a number of trails labelled as open to MTB but when I'd go look for them on the ground they were either non-existent or in such bad shape they were difficult to follow. Coming from BC every little town had its own stash of trails so it was shocking to find so little. I'm sure there are a few hidden stashes out there but it was really disappointing to see stuff that is on the map in such bad shape. Makes me want to move up there and get to work!

    As for buying pieces of land, yeah the regulation is one thing but you aren't going to get a lot of trail out of 40 or even 100 acres. A friend of mine bought a mountain top 40 acre parcel planning to build trails. He's built a few but they don't amount to much more than an extended pump track. Yeah it's cool but it's not going to change your world.

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    In the listing it says

    "There is no legal road access to this parcel and no recorded easement for access"

    Running laps on the helicopter is going to get expensive, just saying.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by MountainBored View Post
    I'm down for 0.05% of that price, right now! Just need 5-150 more peeps!
    We (New England Mountain Bike Association) did this back in '03.
    Took up a collection and bought ~50 acres so we could build stuff that LMs typically wouldn't put up with on public trails. Make it happen!

    https://www.nemba.org/trails/massachusetts/vietnam
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  31. #31
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    Yeah, I love the idea. That particular parcel is pretty much sans trees though. That and the lack of an easement (doesn't mean you couldn't get one), makes it way less attractive.
    Why Johnny Ringo, you look like someone just walked over your grave.

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