Our Bridge

Posted on: September 5, 2010

by Deborah in the UP

A great deal of property in the UP is owned by logging concerns. They almost never sell property, but once they’ve used up its purpose to them, they will trade it for something else. That might have to do with capital gains tax, I don’t know for sure though.

The Road Commission was no different. The gravel pit they had used south of us was of no further value to them, so they traded the property to an individual for a different piece, and that individual wanted to sell the 80 acres. This adjoined our 160 acres and was where the new bridge was located. We made the deal quickly, paying the full price, and it never even hit the multi-list ads.

Perhaps two years had lapsed since the bridge went in, and we were more than comfortable with the access. Now, it was OURS… sort of. The bridge itself still belonged to the logger, but the property … and the road access to his land… was now in our control.

There are rights of eminent domain here. If someone used a road across another’s property to access their land-locked parcels, that other person could NOT stop them. However, the logger wanted to sell some of his land, and the new owner didn’t have the same rights. Several months later, I found out that Jake had approached Pete concerning signing an agreement for a right to access, for which he would sign over the ownership of the bridge, to us. A very good deal, if it had been approached in a different manner.

Late that Fall, Jake went to Pete, excluding me from the negotiations. I didn’t have a clue any of this was going on.

Paper work always takes time, and by the time Jake had his lawyers write up a contract, it was past Christmas, and there was three feet of snow on the ground.. And on the road to our house. We had been running the snowmobile for several weeks and had a well packed trail, critical to our transportation and access.

Late one afternoon, I rode the snowmobile out to the car to pick up my son who had come for a visit. I came around a curve, perhaps 200 yards from where the car was parked, only to find someone had tried to plow their way in! The snow was way too deep for standard equipment, and whoever it was tried with just a pickup truck, then just backed out, leaving my trail a mess. There were piles of snow I couldn’t drive over; the turn-around was wrecked. I was very upset!! I stopped the sled just short of the first pile, climbed off, and with my snowshoes (that I always carried!), I started digging. Using one of the shoes as a shovel, I knocked down the worse of the ridge, creating a mediocre ramp. Then, putting the shoes back on, tromped back and forth trying to smooth it out. I had to widen it out more, or risk sliding off the new ramp. In the fading daylight, I carefully drove the sled down onto the semi-cleared road, stopping just before the turn-around, which now had three foot drop-offs, on either end. I walked the little sled out to the cars where my son waited, surveying the rest of the damage someone had caused. While Jason filled the sled with his stuff, I went back to work on the turn-around, doing much the same thing as I did with trail, knocking down the worse of it, making a new ramp.

We tied the little sled to the snowmobile and road to the new ramp. I had Jason get off so I didn’t risk toppling both of us if I slid off, and drove cautiously up. The rest of the ride was uneventful… until we got to the house.

I told Pete what I had come upon, and he slipped, saying perhaps it was Jake, wanting to come to us to talk about legal access. Still quite angry over the destruction, I blew, saying Jake would “play hell” getting me to sign anything after that stunt! Pete walked down to the basement, dressed, and drove out . When he returned, he sneered, saying the trail wasn’t nearly as bad as I professed, and I was once again exaggerating. I was really getting tired of this, and told him that of course it wasn’t bad.. I had fixed it!!!

Every time Pete took someone else’s side against me, even in trivial matters, it undermined our already strained relationship, but that seemed to be his goal. I just couldn’t understand it.

A blizzard later, the trail was filled in again and the situation was dropped until Spring.

One morning, I found a long letter from Pete, explaining all the pro’s to signing the agreement with Jake (which somehow came into his hands…) … also explaining why he waited so long.. that *I* was ‘unreasonable’ during previous attempts. Huh… The rational to accepting the deal was indeed logical, and I still maintain that had I been approached from the beginning, there would never have been an issue. I signed and the bridge became ours.

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