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Am I being a kill joy?

 
 
Linkat
 
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 10:16 am
We have a large yard...one in which we own land that is wooded with a stream going through it. We own some of the property on the other side of the stream - to be honest I do not know how much is our property on the other side.

End of the fall last year - I was working from home and I heard all this banging. I went out in the yard and saw some boys in the woods banging some boards into a tree that was on the edge of the stream (so I know this was on our property). I didn't want to be a kill joy - I understand the fun of it, but I could only picture them falling and me paying for their injuries. I told them to be careful that is part of our property. My girls came out and watched them so they must have figured their cool hiding/hanging place wasn't so cool/hidden so they left.

Today I go out so nice out - and I see from the tree they were last year putting in pieces of wood to climb a tree a long rope with a rounded piece of wood on the end. I thought damn - I am not having these boys swing over the stream they will break their necks. And I don't want them any where near our yard.

I've never crossed the stream before - usually there is so much crap - vines and stuff I don't go out there - now it is before it gets too much growth so I cross over some rock go over the other side and took my trusty clippers and cut the rope. I am thinking of going over there and pulling the boards out of the tree too.

Do you think I should continue being a kill joy or is cutting down the rope enough?
 
Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 10:21 am
Do it for the tree's benefit. Screw the boys too. 😀
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 10:21 am
@Linkat,
take photos before and after - take a pic of the rope you cut down - if you can, get a pic of where you cut it down

at least minimally post the area against trespassing

if they are injured over there, you want to be able to prove to your insurer that you made efforts to prevent them being there and made efforts to prevent the injuries
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 10:23 am
@Butrflynet,
I like the way you think
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 10:24 am
@ehBeth,
good idea - I will do think - have some lunch; take the pix and pull the boards out of the poor tree. The rope is still hanging as I am not climbing the tree to untie from the top but I snipped it off from where I could reach from the ground.
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 10:29 am
Wow. The modern litigious America is so different from the one I grew up in. We used to roam, wander, hunt and play for miles, across various people's properties without ever a single thought of a lawsuit. My cousin broke her leg while playing on a pile of bricks on somebody else's property. Nobody ever though about a lawsuit. The parents took care of her without a second thought. I broke one of my own legs riding somebody else's horse. Never a word about a lawsuit. And that was when I was in my 30's. Whew.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 10:30 am
@FBM,
FBM wrote:

The modern litigious America is so different from the one I grew up in.


yup

it's pretty awful
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  3  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 10:31 am
@Linkat,
Sadly, you are exercising reasonable self preservation. It did not used to be this way, once upon a time you could have let the kids have fun knowing that the parents almost certainly would not sue you, and knowing that if they did the state was unlikly to ruin your family.

Those days are over.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 10:49 am
@hawkeye10,
This is what happens when victim culture wins.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 11:11 am
@FBM,
Exactly why I was questioning whether I should cut down the rope or not. I figure boys will be boys and they seemed to just be having fun.

But yeah I am worried - rightly so- that their parents could then come after me.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 11:15 am
So I went over again - but I could not pull the damn boards (even the lower ones out) I managed to get them a bit looser and I turned them so they wouldn't be easy to climb and secured them that way. I also removed any stray boards that were around there they could use.

It isn't easy going over there - there is a bit of a steep incline - then you cross the stream - which is very shallow - I said forget about the slippery rocks and just got my feet wet and them up again. It is cool over the other side - lots of wooded area and two deer ran past me not too far away. Alot of deer run through there and chipmunks and crap like that.

0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 12:51 pm
My daughter just came home from school (this is a work from home day) any way - I asked her if she knew the boys had put a rope up on the tree and she said yes -- they put it up last summer.

I guess I just noticed it as during late spring/summer --- there is so much vegatation out there you can not see through it all. Right now just as things are starting to grow again and we are venturing out, you can see much more and it is easier to go through the woods as a result.

I told her I cute the rope down. She thought it was funny.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 01:02 pm
Find out exactly where your property line is. Hang No Trespassing signs up, too.

0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 01:04 pm
Do you have a plan of your property (er, a survey?) There may be markers in place if one has been done.

I don't like litigious life myself, spent years worrying about it as a landscape architect in my own and other firms. I didn't worry very hard -- we were either very good or lucky -- but it was an underlying nerve twinge to designing. Well, health and welfare concerns are part of why the state of California is involved in licensing and is part of designing before any worry about lawsuits on the part of the designer.

Talking to the parents may be useful, not to be threatening in some way, but to express concern and maybe arrive at understanding so that boys could be boys and you not somehow responsible. I'm no lawyer (what a thought! I'd be terrible at it) but it might be smart to consult one. Or not, depending.

Fencing, another option.. though sad for woods and for wildlife.
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 01:12 pm
@ossobuco,
Not sure who the kids are - I asked my daughter but she didn't get a real good look at them. They looked in between my daughters'ages. And they way the roads are and how the woods are situationed - they are likely in the high priced neighborhood and not in a sense our neighborhood.

Any way - the area I am referring to cannot be developed any way, they are protected wetlands. There are houses behind these woods, but a good distance away - you cannot see them from my yard. I walked a bit around there today just to get an idea how deep these woods are -- I did see a house but I had to walk a bit.

Since I know found out this rope was put up last summer, I am hoping the boys will not be back. When I went way back in those woods, I saw some old bottles and empty cases of beer - could likely be an area that kids something go to drink and party. I don't typically hear much noise though so it must be at a minimum.

I am going to go through my paper work to get the details of what we exactly own. It might just be the land right beyond the stream.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 01:23 pm
@Linkat,
I'm interested.
I've edited my post a bit..
anyway, no matter what I said, I wouldn't myself want to put up a fence (I don't think.) You can tell I'm thinking as I type. When I first lived in northern California, I hadn't bought a house yet, and my real estate agent got me a 4 bedroom tract (but sort of nice) house to live in, amazingly cheap rent if I would keep the house heated for the winter, and have a place while I house hunted. (I only lived there a month, in that house that hadn't sold for three years, another story, the buyers loved it). That place had a deep back yard of sequoia trees, truly beautiful, and the property to, uh, the west of that house's, was grassland and a few trees, and, that first day, three deer. That was quite a welcome. My point is they had a low fence, let's say 42" high between the rental house and the grassland and further housing. It showed the property line, but even an old and crotchety deer could have easily gotten over it. (I get concerned that in CA we have lost a lot of our wildlife corridors.)

Glad that's a dedicated wetlands, good. I'm now assuming that means no fence, I think that's good too. I wonder though about survey markers or some kind of not too awful sign.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  2  
Reply Mon 4 May, 2015 02:38 pm
@Linkat,
It's your property. Use it or lose it. Really, if you don't stop this now, it will have turned into a public playground within a year. They, and all their friends will thing they have a right to be there. In fact, there is the doctrine of Prescriptive Rights to consider. They might actually develop a right to use your land.
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  3  
Reply Tue 5 May, 2015 02:09 am
In British and US law, there is a doctrine of "attractive nuisance". This states that a landowner may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing on the land if the injury is caused by a hazardous object or condition on the land that is likely to attract children who are unable to appreciate the risk posed by the object or condition. The doctrine has been applied to hold landowners liable for injuries caused by abandoned cars, piles of lumber or sand, trampolines, and swimming pools. However, it can be applied to virtually anything on the property of the landowner.

In France there is now a law, following a number of drownings, that all outdoor swimming pools must have a cover that is in place when the pool is not being supervised

The wikipedia entry has a summary but the best advice might be to see a lawyer and/or consult with your insurer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attractive_nuisance_doctrine

You are definitely not being a kill joy. Better that than a "kill child".

0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Tue 5 May, 2015 02:17 am
There's an awful lot of BS in this thread. Attractive nuisance laws have been around for generations in the U.S. In Florida, pools have to have a fence around them. In many states i've lived in, abandoned cars have to be towed away by the owner of the property, without reference to who may have left the car there. Such laws usually don't get rigorously enforced in rural areas--it's in cities where, i suspect, there are more negligent parents than in rural areas, or that they're just more noticeable because of the population density. Americans are not more litigious than other nations, certainly not than, for example, the English, from whom they inherited the trait. Neither of them, though, can hold a candle to the ancient Romans, for whom it was the favorite public sport.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 5 May, 2015 02:39 am
By the way, simply putting up signs which read "Private Property, No Trespassing" would be a good first step. Tear down everything those kids erected. Don't let them think they can get away with that kind of thing, and don't leave anything to give other kids ideas.
 

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