Long story short, they are private land and NOT open to the public. It certainly isn't well known (for numerous reasons, not the least of which are people who rip down trespassing signs while the owners try to keep up with it from out of state) but hopefully this helps get the information out there.
While it's certainly up to the individual to verify land management/ownership status before heading out on a hike or 4-wheeling trip, perhaps this closure could be added/noted in the various Coke Ovens hike entries here? I counted three just from looking for anything that started with Coke Ovens, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are others listed elsewhere due to the number of ways there are into the area.
The most recent information I am aware of from a reliable source can be found here:
http://azfj.org/index.php?name=Forums&f ... 324#114324
Copy/paste for the record:
OK, I have not be forth coming with the information about this subject because I didn’t want people to be bombarding me with questions and trying to offer advice. It has been announced that it is off-limits by a person that personally spoke with the property owner within the past two months. I would hope that people would understand and respect that especially knowing that we are working on it. The goal is to work with the property owner and receive their TRUST and achieve permission to be on the land. We are doing this in different ways. Like I said earlier, they are not yet in the state. Things will hopefully move along when they get here. We will let people know what is going on when there is news to share. The other clubs that are involved are being told the same thing.
As I have said, I HAVE spoken directly to the property owner and spoke with him for a good long time, and I asked him point blank what his desires were concerning people visiting the property. He told me that he really didn’t want anyone to be out there. His concern is the damage that has been done and is now being done to the property. Someone mentioned the cabin that is out there. The owner told me that in the not so distant past that that cabin was fully in tacked, furnished and habitable. He told me that people have gone out there and destroyed the furniture and appliances, broke out the windows and pulled the doors of the hinges. Eventually (to his best guess) someone strapped the front porch and pulled it down. There is also a windmill out there that used to be standing but someone hooked up to it and pulled it over and then shot up and vandalized the water tank that went with it. He informed me that he has put up many gates and posted countless signs only to have them torn down and destroyed by people that are determined to get in there.
We spoke at length about the large percentage of the off-road community that is not out to damage anything and is very respectful of the land and historic buildings. We also spoke about the very small percentage of the people who really just don’t care and think that they are privileged and can do what they want. This being both off-roaders as well has hikers. He does understand that the small percentage of people get the majority of the attention and makes the large percentage of adventurists look bad.
When I spoke with him he did tell me that he had spoken to “someone from a Jeep club” and I later found out that it was someone from the VJC. I will not mention his name because it really doesn’t matter who it is at this time, but I have spoken personally with him as well. This person WAS given permission to organize a clean-up out there, but that is it. The owner did not tell me of any other person that he has given permission to. It is entirely possible that this trail leader of the recent run has gotten permission in the past. It may still be valid, it may not be. That is up to the property owner. I can only go by what he told me a month and a half ago and that was that he didn’t want anyone to be out there, but he was willing to work something out with us. I took that to mean that we would probably be working for the permission to go out there. I will not go into the different things that have been discussed around but just know that we are trying.
It was mentioned that there was a lot of trash and what not all around the cabin and ovens. I know that the VJC brought out more than 30 large bags of trash. So either they couldn’t get it all or all of that trash has been put there in the past month.
As I said earlier, I cannot force anyone from not going out there. All I can do is ask that you DO NOT go out there and to respect the owners request. Once we find something out we WILL tell you guys, weather it is good or bad. PLEASE do not jeopardize things by going out there without permission. It only takes one incident to undermine everything we have worked toward thus far.
The Coke Ovens are on PRIVATE PROPERTY and are OFF LIMITS, and I AM someone who HAS spoken directly with the property owner about this. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE……DO NOT GO OUT THERE.