In March 2011, we reported on the Hastain Trail in Franklin Canyon. A mega-mansion developer, Mohamed Hadid, had purchased a parcel of land traversed by the Hastain Trail in 2002. In 2011, he began development of the site, putting up a fence to block the trail without any public notice.
Immediately, local hiker Ellen Scott formed the Friends of Hastain Trail. They fought the developer in court, with the backing of the Mountains Recreation Conservation Authority. The previous owner had never prohibited public entry to the land via the Hastain Trail for at least five years prior to 1972. Witnesses testified hiking the trail as far back as 1965. Hadid did not close the trail for nearly ten years that he owned it.
In October 2012, we reported that Friends of Hastain Trail won the lawsuit, and the trail was reopened to the public. The decision was based on state laws regarding prescriptive easements.
Hadid, who has since been charged with criminal misdemeanor offences relating to another property he is developing, and was named one of L.A.s “ten worst neighbors of 2015,” appealed the decision. The appeals court recently overturned the ruling, once again closing the trail to the public.
The battle for the trail is not over. Though Hadid has offered to provide an alternative route through his property, the route he proposes doesn’t have the views afforded by the existing trail, and is not an equitable replacement.
Efforts are now underway to appeal the decision to a higher court, which the MRCA and CORBA are supporting. Stay tuned for updates.