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California tribe protects "donated" land

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    Thanks for posting this [MENTION=76551]AmigoKumeyaay[/MENTION] (I think I did that right)

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  • AmigoKumeyaay
    started a topic California tribe protects "donated" land

    California tribe protects "donated" land


    MENIFEE: City to complete trail severed by tribal preserve

    Posted on | January 25, 2013 | 1 Comments

    Menifee officials are looking to complete a trail that was planned to go through the Audie Murphy Ranch development and was closed by the Pechanga tribe.

    The city plans to appoint a parks commission in March that will be responsible for connecting a trail meant to run from Riverside County to the beach in Orange County.

    The trail was cut off when Brookfield Homes, the lead developer in the Audie Murphy Ranch project, donated more than 100 acres to the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians in 2003.

    The tribe then closed the land to the public and has no plans to change that, according to Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro.

    “Our long-term plan for this site is simply preservation and protection. Obviously, a public trail system across this heritage parcel would totally and completely conflict with the goal of avoiding further encroachment and damage to this historic and culturally important site,” he said via email.
    The land sits between Newport and Holland roads west of Murrieta Road in Menifee, which was part of a larger area inhabited by American Indians related to the Pechangas.

    “The Audie Murphy Ranch covers what was once a large, important and thriving Luiseño village complex,” Macarro said. “A lot of historic and cultural resources were forever lost because of this particular project, but we managed to save just a small sliver that the developer was required to donate as part of the mitigation efforts agreed to for this project.”

    The area has numerous archaeological sites important to the tribe, including petroglyphs, stones used to grind flour and burial mounds.

    The city negotiated with the tribe hoping to keep the trail open so the public could see the relics, but nothing came of the discussions, said Councilman Tom Fuhrman.

    “It would be nice to educate people about the Indians who lived here,” he said, suggesting the trail could be a field trip destination for school children.

    During a recent interview at the site, he pointed out a large boulder with worn red drawing of a bear, a bird, several rows of teepees and a sign of a more modern resident: the words “NO HUNTING” at the top.

    “This stuff is museum quality,” Fuhrman said.

    The site is currently fenced off with roughly hewn wooden posts and barbed wire, though people regularly break through the fence to ride off-road vehicles on the land, Fuhrman said. Neighbors voluntarily repair the fences regularly.

    A county trails plan that the city inherited when it incorporated called for the land to remain open to the public for trail use. The closing of the area severed a trail system that should reach from Riverside County to the beach in Orange County, according to Rick Croy, a former Menifee trails committee member.

    “It’s the one piece of the pie that’s missing,” Croy said.

    Brookfield Homes faced a problem when it handed the land to the tribe: it was still required to give the city a trail that is open to the public, but it had nowhere near the previous trail that was feasible, according to a December city council staff report.

    City officials considered putting the trail in the next parcel to the west of the Pechanga-owned one, but a steep mountain would make it impractical, said Menifee Mayor Scott Mann.

    “It would take more money that what we have to put a 10-foot-wide trail through there,” he said.
    Brookfield set aside some land on the west side of Audie Murphy Ranch adjacent to Canyon Lake Community Church and gave the city $50,000 to build its own trail, which the city accepted in December.

    City officials are unsure whether they are going to use the easement or find another place for the trail, said Mayor Scott Mann.

    “I’m thinking the parks commission will have a great deal to do with that we’ll do with that (decision) in the future,” he said.

    The city will now need to find a place to build a trail that will connect to the city’s other paths, said Marty Rosen, the former chair of the city’s trails committee and member of the county’s trails commission.

    “The purpose (of the trails master plan) was to have connectivity,” he said. “At this point, we’ll have to look for another method.”

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