Leave It To Beaver

Major league asshole Donnie Beaver is in the news again. He's preparing to appeal the court decision in his never ending battle to keep Joe Angler off the Little Juniata. Beaver thinks he's a tough guy but now he has to deal with the 800 pound gorilla named Norfolk Southern. What are the chances that he's going to win this - zilch

Railroad joins Little Juniata River access fight

Exclusive club told to remove fencing, no trespassing signs

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

By Deborah Weisberg, Special to the Post-Gazette

As state attorneys and Donny Beaver prepare to do battle in a state appeals court over access to the Little Juniata River, another matter is unfolding along its banks. Norfolk Southern Corp. has ordered Mr. Beaver, operator of the exclusive Spring Ridge Club, to immediately remove barbed wire and "no trespassing" signs from railroad property along the stream. If he fails to do so within 10 days, Norfolk Southern will perform the task and might bill him for the work, according to Norfolk Southern attorney Randal S. Noe, who made the demands in an Aug. 3 letter to Mr. Beaver.

Mr. Noe said yesterday that he doesn't know when the barbed wire and signs were erected, but the railroad only recently was made aware of them. The "no trespassing" signs bear the names of the Spring Ridge Club and Legacy Conservation Group, two of several corporations Mr. Beaver has or had an interest in. The barbed wire is strung among dense brush downstream of Spruce Creek. "We were advised by a third party of [the wire and signs'] existence," said Mr. Noe. "We weren't aware of anything before that. But once we became aware, we got concerned."

Although Mr. Beaver leases a small, relatively narrow strip of land from the railroad along the Little Juniata, Mr. Noe said the signs and barbed wire are beyond the leased section. He also said that while the railroad "does not want to get in the middle of a dispute between the state and Don Beaver ... when [Beaver] allegedly invaded our property, we felt it was our duty to react." Mr. Beaver declined to comment.

In the Aug. 3 letter to Mr. Beaver, Norfolk Southern demanded "the immediate removal of any barbed wire, fencing, barriers, signs or other material placed on our property by you, your employees, or agents." It further stated that the railroad company would inspect the property in about 10 days, remove and dispose of any such material and "reserve the right" to seek recovery of payment for the cost.

Three state agencies, including the Department of Environmental Protection, and local fishing guide Allan Bright sued Mr. Beaver and the club four years ago because they treated a 1.3-mile section of the river near Spruce Creek as members-only water.

Earlier this year, Huntingdon County Common Pleas Judge Stewart Kurtz ruled in the state's favor. Subsequently, Mr. Beaver was ordered not to post or hang signs on the stream, not to "threaten, harass or otherwise attempt to exclude the public" from the water and streambed, and not to advertise the river as private.

In recent months, however, "no trespassing" signs and metal posts with bright orange caps had been posted in and along the Little Juniata on the side opposite the railroad tracks, where Mr. Beaver owns land for the Spring Ridge Club, a private fishing organization that charges up to $80,000 for membership and thousands more in annual fees. The metal posts and most of those signs have since been removed.

Mr. Beaver appealed the judge's decision last month in a case that probably will be argued early next year.
Stan Stein, the attorney for Mr. Bright, who is seeking damages over income he claims he lost for all those years that the club advertised the Little Juniata as private, said the railroad issue "will have no effect on the appeal, but it may have an effect on how and whether the court might be asked to enforce the court order."

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