For more than a decade, it has been my joy, nearly every day, to walk the path along beautiful Strawberry Creek from Delano to town and back with my dog, who loved our outings as much as I did.

When I saw the “Private Property” signs that went up at Idyllwild Pines Camp, I felt deep dismay and disappointment.

It seems quite unlikely to be a coincidence that Idyllwild Pines posted those signs just days after neighbors and I were stunned to see and hear a bulldozer on the property that was wiping out the nests of countless birds and the homes of countless small mammals. I couldn’t believe that any legal authority had allowed such wholesale destruction of riparian habitat to take place, especially not in springtime. (As far as I know, there were no permits issued.)

Neighbors expressed their concern; so, closing off access to paths that previously were open feels like retaliation.

Question: Is it really legal to close off access to a waterway that is routinely stocked with fish by the state of California, paid for by taxpayers? Two Fish and Game guys told me the answer is “No,” but I haven’t seen it in writing yet.

I am sincerely sorry to learn that damage has been done to the camp’s property. It seems unlikely, however, that signs or fences will deter miscreants.

By the way, our dogs have done no damage to the camp property. Those of us who walk with them regularly are meticulous about picking up after them and keeping the path clean and free of all debris. When we see children or campers, we turn around and walk the other way.

Absolutely, all children must be protected from all harm. I trust that Idyllwild Pines staff is taught extreme vigilance in looking out for them; that is their responsibility, after all.

But isn’t it less likely that harm will come to children (or property) when caring neighbors like my friends and I are nearby, keeping an eye out for potential troublemakers?

Is the new director open to the notion of creating a Neighborhood Watch with and among the camp’s neighbors to that end in exchange for access to the creekside path?

Virginia Crowder