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Tales of old roads and past settlers in landlocked trial

March 4, 2008
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A land surveyor testifies in court when an owner of a piece of land-locked property attempts to gain access based upon old family stories of a Gold-Rush-era stagecoach line running through it.


As a child, cattle rancher Jim Gates remembers gathering around the woodstove to hear a tale from a distant relative about a stage coach road that crossed a parcel of land now owned by Ian Garfinkel. But now he believes the story was nothing but a myth.
 
Gates, the owner of Nevada County Free Range Beef, was the latest witness to testify in an ongoing civil case between Garfinkel and defendants Nevada County Land Trust and Bill and Anna Trabucco. Gates leases land from the Trabuccos to run his cattle.
 
Garfinkel is the owner of what he calls a landlocked piece of land that sits adjacent to land owned by the Trabuccos. He wishes to access his property by crossing the Trabuccos' land using roads he said have existed since the Gold Rush. The defendants argue no such roads exist and to allow access would invalidate a conservation easement.
 

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