County files lawsuit against couple over trail access

Jan. 8, 2001 - PORT ANGELES, WA -  Clallam County prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against a Herrick Road couple who have allegedly blocked access on a popular hiking trail.

County commissioners ordered civil prosecutors to file the suit over the longtime right-of-way dispute.

"Clallam County seeks civil penalties, injunctive relief, attorney's fees and costs and judgment for abatement costs as a result of the defendants (William J. and Helen V. Payne, husband and wife) unpermitted activities of blocking off, constricting and encroaching upon . . . a historic trail/road crossing their private property known variously as the West Elwha Trail, Old Olympic Hot Springs Trail and the Altaire Trail,'' according to the county's complaint written by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Deborah S. Kelly.

The Paynes say the disputed access was never part of the trail and that it is an unused logging road, an argument supported by at least one of their neighbors.

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