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Wickersham Road News
June10, 2002

Abbreviated Issue 

This issue of the News has been prepared to address one issue only: Locking of the Big Iron Gate. We will produce a full newsletter later in the summer.

This issue was prepared in haste on the way out of town. Apologies for any offense that may lie within. 

Gate Locking

As everyone is aware, we have had good luck with the “new improved” gate locking system for the first part of 2002. This system consists of a simple chain and lock. Everyone using the ranch did a great job keeping the gate locked and it was the opinion of everyone we spoke with that the simplicity was the important factor.

Last week, however, vandalism occurred at the big iron gate. The lock was physically damaged and the combination was changed so that it was not functional.

This act was disturbing to the road committee as we thought we had achieved a level of success in keeping the second gate locked. 


To be perfectly clear, essentially everyone has participated in keeping the gate locked and meeting our obligations to our neighbors for security and privacy.

Thanks to all who understand and participate.

It is clearly one individual who does not think the gate should be locked. In a community, however, the opinion of one is not sufficient to change policy or practice.


The Committee is taking the following actions to correct this situation:
We have installed a new, modified combination lock on the Second Gate. The combination remains the same for now.
We are researching heavier locks that are harder to vandalize.
We are considering a double lock system and use of the old key to make un-locking for owners easier.
We are not currently pursuing a lock housing as the open chain seems to be the easiest to operate.
We are asking all owners to remind their neighbors and guests that the gate must be locked at all times.
We are asking all owners who know of a neighbor with a different opinion about the gate locking to remind them about current policy and acceptable methods for changing policy.

The Committee is also reviewing future options and the implications for the Association if this problem persists:
Installation of a lock housing that is more accessible from both sides of the gate by modifying the gate substantially. This represents a notable potential cost to the Association.
Spot observation of the gate during key use periods to observe locking failures. This also represents a substantial expense to the Association.
Continued annoying haranguing of all owners until someone bugs the right person and causes the vandalism to stop. This represents a negative approach to the situation that runs the risk of polluting the spirit of community that is possible at the ranch.

Gate Locking Background

It is current Road Policy that the gates must be locked at all times. Period.

Our neighbors, who are not part of the committee but have an interest in road security, have requested that the gate remain locked. Specifically, the Silva Ranch has asked that it remain locked as this opens a route into their property by non-Wickersham users.

Gate Locking Refresher Course

The following practices should be communicated to new neighbors, guests and employees who may not understand the way rural ranch roads are used.
Lock the gate even if you will be returning in a very short time.
If you have guests following and you want to leave the gate open for them, please wait at the gate for them to arrive and make sure the gate is locked after you pass through.
If you would rather not wait, please explain why the gate will be locked and make sure they know how to unlock and re-lock it.
When using the gate please check that the lock is actually locked when you use it. Spin the numbers several times and test the lock before leaving the gate.
If you see or know of someone who has left the front gate unlocked, please talk to them about it directly. Please notify the committee and we will talk to them as well.
Please remind all of your guests and employees that the road is not a public road. It actually crosses private property. When using the road they should know that they are driving on someone else’s land. When leaving the gate unlocked they are not hurting the government or some public agency, they are hurting their neighbors.

Preferred Solution / Un-solicited Lecture 

Talk to your neighbors. Explain why you want the gate locked (or why you don’t). Convince them that the simple task of getting out of a car and unlocking a gate is a small price to pay to visit (or live) out in such a beautiful place. In fact the act of getting out to unlock a gate should be seen as an enjoyable stop along the way.

For our one or two neighbors who don’t lock the gate, please think about the following:

If locking and unlocking a gate is such a dramatically tedious chore, I personally would imagine the other chores involved in using remote property such as this would drive one back to the suburbs where life is much more convenient.

If the one or two minutes involved to get out and unlock a gate is such a precious drain on available time, why would one even visit property where the road in takes forty minutes to an hour to traverse.

One or two minutes to get out, smell the trees, feel the temperature, get in touch with the place that is supposedly loved seems a very small task.

And if it is such a burden, put the effort into changing policy in a civilized way. Get it on a ballot and see what your neighbors really think.

And once more: my apologies to all who lock the gate. It is very difficult in a non-urban, non-policed situation to find the root of problems such as this. The only means we have is to communicate to everyone.

We hope that all of our neighbors understand that this “attitude” is not aimed at everyone. It is aimed most likely at one person. That person may not even be an owner. It may be a guest or an employee. It might be someone who thinks the gate is public property.

It may be someone who simply has not heard the rules. I personally hope that is the case.

It would be much more disturbing to me to think that in a small community of about thirty neighbors, one of those neighbors would be low enough to consciously vandalize community assets. I have better numbers than that living in the city.

So, apologies for the lecture and genuine requests to share the dialogue and help stop the abuse of our neighborhood. 

Combination Change 

On Saturday July 20 the gate combination will change to the following:

Front Gate:   Call for combination

Second Gate:   Call for combination

Final Note

Thanks to Dave Otero and Dave Schaefer who have spent much of their personal time repairing the locks, replacing the locks and monitoring the gate.

Dave Schaefer has made several trips to the ranch with a full compliment of tools and welding equipment to weld locks on the gate.

Thanks again to all neighbors who help keep the ranch clean, safe and enjoyable 

Next Issue

Road Project Update
Road Strategy Update