Conrad Ranch is again facing the opening of gun season where we have the majority of trespassers attempting to get to the back side of the Wenas Wildlife Area. When Block Watch was instituted a few years ago, there were many, many intruders and trespassers that claimed it to be hunting this area for many years and expected free reign over our private roads. Each year, in cooperation with the Sheriff's Department, the number of trespassers has been reduced significantly. Most were given warnings by Block Watch volunteers or had "come to Jesus meetings" with Sheriff's Department personnel. We should still remain vigilant and please feel free to call me if you suspect someone or a group is trespassing. Also recommended, please don't approach these folks alone since many of them are armed to the teeth, some have been drinking and some are just not in the best of moods when they are asked to leave. Believe me, we have spoken to some of these individuals described above. Randy Clark has now purchased the property abutting the Wenas Wildlife area fence and has posted "no trespassing without written permission" signs along with his phone number. Randy is certainly a valuable neighbor and is giving every opportunity for folks to contact him regarding crossing his property. There have been suggestions that we place another sign at both entrances to the Conrad Ranch, both being more to the point that you will be arrested. This should be discussed by the membership.
The cooperation from the Sheriff's Department has been outstanding and when called, usually show up within minutes, if they are close to our area while being on patrol. Sheriff Winter has been more than helpful in assisting us in cleaning up trespassers and other lawbreakers that either lives here for are unwelcome visitors. We also have two new coordinators representing Block Watch but that hasn't deterred our previous coordinators from occasionally patrolling our private roads. The new coordinator has offered to come to our annual meeting and introduce himself and perhaps talk about the future of Block Watch.
The Washington division of fish and wildlife no longer has access to our private roads in order to "rip out" the gates into the Wenas, that were actually here when the fence was built. We could access the Wenas by horseback for many years until there was an unannounced policy of first locking the gates and then removing them. A group of us have met with them and I have met with them many times individually but their demand has always been that CROA must allow the entire public access from our private roads. For maintenance purposes, WDFW cannot use our private roads to rip out our gates and prevent private landowners from accessing the game lands. I suppose there thinking is that private landowners are not members of the public. I had an opportunity to discuss this with the Governor and would welcome any ideas from folks at our annual meeting.
Some neighbors have seen deer and elk in their backyards, which means the fence has been breached allowing the animals access away from the Wenas Wildlife Area. Much of this activity is occurring at the end of Austin spur road and the Sheriff's Department has responded to complaints within minutes but were unable to apprehend some people in trucks and three wheelers. There had been a complete target range with metal targets set up near the elk fence line and looked as if it had been pretty used. If any of you have any idea who is making a mess of this area, please let me know and I will convey that on to the authorities.
The CROA board looks forward to talking with you on Saturday, during our annual meeting. Please make every effort to attend since there are some important issues that we will need your may or yea vote.
Also, many thanks to the volunteers that have graciously given up their time to make Conrad Ranch a safer place and a better place to live.
Ed Shoenbach, President CROA and Block Watch Captain
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