Brandt, who has owned the area for the last three years after leasing it for many years, said he took the action because he just got fed up with the disrespect shown to his property by some members of the public. That included shooting at the …
Three horses shot, unauthorized hunting, damage by four wheelers and garbage left by the public prompted a landowner to close public access to an area long open to casual use by area residents. Kelly Brandt, owner of the land surrounding the “Dog Ponds” south of Powell closed the land to public access recently, locking the gates and posting “No Trespassing” signs.
Brandt, who has owned the area for the last three years after leasing it for many years, said he took the action because he just got fed up with the disrespect shown to his property by some members of the public. That included shooting at the animals he keeps in the area.
“I've had three horses shot,” Brandt said. “One of them was killed, and the other two wounded.”
Visitors have also left gates down, allowing his mules to escape, putting the mules in danger and creating liability for Brandt if one of them should cause an accident on the highway.
In addition, he recently found bow hunters on his land hunting without permission.
Then there's the damage to the land itself, which Brandt has “been trying to clean up and improve.”
He has gone to the expense of clearing Russian olive growth from the property and has taken other steps to improve wildlife habitat with some success.
Four-wheelers have misused the area, Brandt said, creating trails Brandt doesn't want on the property.
“There are four-wheelers running all over out there, making new roads,” Brandt said. “They think they can go all over out there, and I don't want those new roads.”
Then there's the litter.
Brandt said he has found whole bags of trash left at the ponds, and beer bottles and cigarette butts are common problems.
“I went out there last week and somebody had dumped out probably 200 cigarette butts in a pile,” he said. “I could go out there once a week and get bags of beer bottles. They leave their bags from McDonald's and Taco John's, all kinds of trash.”
Brandt said he finally had enough and posted the no trespassing signs.
“It just goes on and on,” Brandt said. “I just got sick of it. I'm too old to be chasing mules down the road in the dark.”
Brandt concedes that the problem is caused by a minority of people.
“Most people are great. Ninety-five percent will be respectful, but the other 5 percent don't,” he said.
The Dog Ponds often are used by Powell school children for field trips, and Brandt said he still will allow that type of access. The road into the ponds, which provides public access to the Shoshone River, will remain open as well. The road is an easement agreement with the state, Brandt said, and it remains public access, but only to the river.
As for the Dog Ponds, they likely are closed to the public permanently.