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King Ranch — give us back the Quail Trail road

By Staff | Jan 22, 2020

To the editor:

The following facts are offered to support the claim that Quail Trail should be immediately allowed as access to Stringfellow Road at the south end.

The Quail Trail Road has been in constant use by the public for decades. Last year the road was blocked off for public use by King Ranch using a metal gate, erected by King Ranch and warning signs posted. Local people who have ventured onto Quail Trail road have been warned off the road by King Ranch employees.

Quail Trail Road has been a public right of way for decades. In fact, Quail Trail, it has been said, preceded Stringfellow Road as the main north-south carriageway for the island.

It is clearly marked on Google Maps as a “Through Road” for public use.

We have, in our possession, documents in support of our claim that Quail Trail in Bokeelia should remain the southern public access route to and from Stringfellow and the historic Quail Trail Road. The deed of 1924 clearly marks Quail Trail road from south to north as a “Perpetual Easement.”

The most compelling legal argument to have King Ranch remove gates and unpleasant signs seems to come from this Deed Record #27711 of 1924. This authentic deed is signed and notarized and states clearly:

“This conveyance is subject to a perpetual easement in and to….” (para 2 description)”

The Gatherings Grove representative has given us a document which has the stated opinion that the Deed #27711 is a valid document which cannot be usurped by any other.

Added to this argument is the sensible notion of public safety. If Quail Trail continues to be blocked by King Ranch in the south, this whole area of Bokeelia becomes dependent solely for emergency services on Stringfellow. In the past, Stringfellow and access to Quail Trail residents has been blocked by traffic accidents and emergency services of various kinds and for various lengths of time. Hurricane evacuations, fires and medical emergencies for residences in this Bokeelia area could all be jeopardized by the action of King Ranch to cut off this historical route to Stringfellow Road.

The issue of public safety is now becoming even more relevant because the south Quail Trail area of Bokeelia is being rapidly developed and the size of the community is growing — especially now that the community called “Gatherings Grove” is building multi-family units in that area.

John Brosseau of Gatherings Grove has been in touch by email with representatives of King Ranch. They appeared initially to be cooperative, asking for the “instrument” which supports the claim for public access to a public road, which has been in use by Pine Island residents for decades. This “instrument” (Deed Record 2771, 1924) was produced for King Ranch but recent emails to King Ranch are no longer acknowledged.

On June 4, 2019, Mitch Hutchcraft addressed the Greater Pine Island Civic Association’s June meeting on several King Ranch issues here on Pine Island.

At that meeting Mitch Hutchcraft said:

“I believe in the character and the vision that Pine Island has established.”

This was clearly just a PR talk, which ignored the fact that we on Pine Island do value our historic and very necessary infrastructure. Our vision is simple. Our public rights of way are dear to our hearts and we actually do need our roads!

King Ranch may try to argue on grounds of liability — that accidents would be their expense on the southern section of Quail Trail, at the edge of the two King Ranch properties. This is without merit. There are long expanses of King Ranch property bordering Stringfellow Road and without any fencing to prevent public access. If liability is indeed an issue, it can be solved by King Ranch erecting the needed fencing to surround their properties.

The Quail Trail road, south of the intersection, with Barancas, has been paved using private funds of five families. It was not designed to take the load of traffic for the new community development known as the Gatherings — a community trying hard to create a solution by providing a survey and the funding to pave the southern section of Quail Trail.

This solution needs zoning support please. First step — remove the illegal gates.

Jill Emery