Coke ovens area - CLOSED

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Thoreau
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Coke ovens area - CLOSED

Post by Thoreau »

It was brought up in a discussion on another forum that there were some hike entries here on HAZ that bring you to the Coke Ovens outside of Florence. Just thought it prudent to spread the current information about the status of the property that the ovens are on.

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.
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chumley
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Re: Coke ovens area - CLOSED

Post by chumley »

Thanks for that information. After some research, I created a map that shows exactly the boundaries of property ownership in the area, and have attached it here. The grey/white area is private land. The dominant reddish color is classified by the state as "other", while the top left greenish color is State Trust Land. I layered the normal topo map under the land ownership colors so that you can clearly see the Coke Ovens are on private land.
Attachments
cokeovens.jpg
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Thoreau
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Re: Coke ovens area - CLOSED

Post by Thoreau »

Very nice. That'll surely help clear things up a little for anyone who might have had questions on that =)

Also, in case anyone was wondering, this same topic has been getting a lotta chatter in a few other places. The AZ Virtual Jeep Club, for example, also has a person in contact with the owner, and even managed to get out there to do a cleanup with the owner's permission recently. So it's definitely a work in progress. I just hope the owners can find a solution that works well for them, and lets me finally see these damn ovens in person!
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chumley
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Re: Coke ovens area - CLOSED

Post by chumley »

And just so everybody knows the law on this matter, I'll include the relevant Arizona Statute here. I will also point out that anywhere on the nearby railroad, (including the bridge and tunnel, which are abundantly posted with "No Trespassing") falls under the same statute and is also prohibited.
ARS13-1502. Criminal trespass in the third degree; classification
A. A person commits criminal trespass in the third degree by:
1. Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully on any real property after a reasonable request to leave by the owner or any other person having lawful control over such property, or reasonable notice prohibiting entry.
2. Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully on the right-of-way for tracks, or the storage or switching yards or rolling stock of a railroad company.
B. Criminal trespass in the third degree is a class 3 misdemeanor.
It should be noted that is the responsibility of the property owner to notify visitors that the property is private. I think it falls within "reasonable request to leave by the owner/reasonable notice prohibiting entry" if he is reaching out to the various off-road forums, but without proper on-site notice (Private Property / No Trespassing signs), any single individual can easily claim that they have never seen or read the forums.

I'm not suggesting that is the right thing to do here, I'm just stating the legal case (and I'm not a lawyer, so take that for what it's worth). Ultimately, it is incumbent on the property owner to post clear signage, and regularly maintain and check it to verify that it hasn't been defaced or removed. But notifying as much of the public through forums such as this is a good start. With some exceptions, most people will respect the request.

For the record, in Arizona, a Class 3 Misdemeanor carries maximum penalties of $500 fine and/or 30-days of "imprisonment to be served other than a place within custody of the state department of corrections". Whatever that means.
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nimrag
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Re: Coke ovens area - CLOSED

Post by nimrag »

From what I know, the owner has placed signs and fences around the ovens. The owner lives out of state, so the signs and fences that get vandalized, do not get repaired. This has been happening for years.

In regards to the RR tracks, nearby. Do the the trespassing laws apply to tracks that are no longer in service? I can imagine that the tracks still belong to someone, but I do not think that they are used anymore. They do not show evidence of any traffic in a long time.
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chumley
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Re: Coke ovens area - CLOSED

Post by chumley »

It's called the Copper Basin Railway. It is owned by a mining company, and it is in use. Daily. I recommend obeying the No Trespassing signs. Especially in the tunnel. :o
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Re: Coke ovens area - CLOSED

Post by outdoor_lover »

Technically speaking, even if the Railroad Tracks are not in use, if they are still owned by the Railroad Company and have not been purchased and added to the "Public Lands" around it, then yes, you are still Trespassing on "Private Property". Without going into the actual 'legal" description, Private Property and No Trespassing areas can pretty much include any land or area, that is not specifically designated for Public Use.
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Re: Coke ovens area - CLOSED

Post by Sredfield »

chumley wrote:Thanks for that information. After some research, I created a map that shows exactly the boundaries of property ownership in the area, and have attached it here.
What software did you use for that?

Thanks.
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Re: Coke ovens area - CLOSED

Post by kingsnake »

Arizona Revised Statute

13-1501 Criminal Trespass (definitions)

In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

1. "Enter or remain unlawfully" means an act of a person who enters or remains on premises when such person's intent for so entering or remaining is not licensed, authorized or otherwise privileged except when the entry is to commit theft of merchandise displayed for sale during normal business hours, when the premises are open to the public and the person does not enter any unauthorized areas of the premises.

2. "Entry" means the intrusion of any part of any instrument or any part of a person's body inside the external boundaries of a structure or unit of real property.

3. "Fenced commercial yard" means a unit of real property surrounded completely by either fences, walls, buildings, or similar barriers or any combination thereof, and used primarily for business operations or where livestock, produce or other commercial items are located.

4. "Fenced residential yard" means a unit of real property immediately surrounding or adjacent to a residential structure and enclosed by a fence, wall, building or similar barrier, or any combination thereof.

5. "In the course of committing" means any acts performed by an intruder from the moment of entry to and including flight from the scene of a crime.

6. "Nonresidential structure" means any structure other than a residential structure.

7. "Residential structure" means any structure, movable or immovable, permanent or temporary, adapted for both human residence and lodging whether occupied or not.

8 "Structure" means any building, object, vehicle, railroad car or place with sides and a floor, separately securable from any other structure attached to it and used for lodging, business, transportation, recreation or storage.

13-1502 Criminal Trespass In The Third Degree

A. A person commits criminal trespass in the third degree by:

1. Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully on any real property after a reasonable request to leave by the owner or any other person having lawful control over such property, or reasonable notice prohibiting entry.

2. Knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully on the right-of-way for tracks, or the storage or switching yards or rolling stock of a railroad company.

B. Criminal trespass in the third degree is a class 3 misdemeanor.

13-1503 Criminal Trespass In The Second Degree

A. A person commits criminal trespass in the second degree by knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in or on any non-residential structure or in any fenced commercial yard.

B. Criminal trespass in the second degree is a class 2 misdemeanor.

13-1504 Criminal Trespass In The First Degree

A. A person commits criminal trespass in the first degree by knowingly:

1. Entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a residential structure or in a fenced residential yard; or

2. Entering any residential yard and, without lawful authority, looking into the residential structure thereon in reckless disregard of infringing on the inhabitant's right of privacy.

3. Entering unlawfully on real property subject to a valid mineral claim or lease with the intent to hold, work, take or explore for minerals on such claim or lease.

4. Entering or remaining unlawfully on the property of another and burning, defacing, mutilating or otherwise desecrating a religious symbol or other religious property of another without the express permission of the owner of the property.

B. Criminal trespass in the first degree is a class 6 felony if it is committed by entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a residential structure or committed pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 4. Criminal trespass in the first degree is a class 1 misdemeanor if it is committed by entering or remaining unlawfully in a fenced residential yard or committed pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 2 or 3.
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chumley
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Re: Coke ovens area - CLOSED

Post by chumley »

Sredfield wrote:What software did you use for that?

Thanks.
Compiled in Photoshop. The Arizona land ownership data can be found online: ( 2018-11-30 DEAD LINK Removed )
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Re: Coke ovens area - CLOSED

Post by nimrag »

stand_by_me.jpg
Trespassers shall be dealt with...
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Re: Coke ovens area - CLOSED

Post by kingsnake »

The Wild Bunch ;)
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Re: Coke ovens area - CLOSED

Post by kell490 »

The last run AZVJC did to the Coke Ovens was 2015 http://www.virtualjeepclub.com/showthre ... coke+ovens with permission from the owner. The club doesn't seem to be as active as it was in the past I haven't gone on any of their runs in a few years. It's possible the owner still allowing them to go more of a private group.
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