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Who Has Hastain Trail? Home Development Threatens Longstanding Franklin Canyon Hiking Location

(Zach Behrens/LAist)
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The Hastain Trail above Beverly Hills in Franklin Canyon is in danger of disappearing as the landowner looks to build homes on the location. 62-year-old Mohamed Hadid, designer and builder of more than a dozen Ritz-Carlton hotels and BH "mega-mansions" owns "97 acres abutting Franklin Canyon Park between the San Fernando Valley and Beverly Hills," reports the L.A. Times. The beloved, lasso-shaped trail, in use since the 1960s, "bisects about 45 acres of his property."

"I understand they believe the land belongs to them because they have been hiking here and there for years.... But it's private land," Hadid said. The property is zoned for as many as 11 homes. Hadid said he wants to build six or seven houses on the ridgeline. He envisions a mix of luxury Mediterranean and contemporary-style homes, structured to blend into the mountainside, with at least 10 acres separating them.

With hundreds of supporters, a grassroots effort called Save Franklin Canyon was created and is now in talks with a land use and real estate litigation attorney who is helping the group prepare a lawsuit. Notes the L.A. Times, "They will try to get a public easement for the trail, a 2.3-mile loop that climbs on a fire road through lush shrub-land to a ridge."

According to their attorney, a strong case will reportedly be based on the rule of "implied dedication," which gives "public rights over private land if it is proved to have been used as a trail for five years consecutively before 1972," notes the L.A. Times. Regular hikers from years ago will likely be called to testify and evidence, including dated photos and arial shots, will be gathered.