Talent Irrigation Ditch (TID) Trail Update
The Talent Irrigation Ditch (TID) Trail, or otherwise known as the Ditch Trail or the TID is used by many hikers, runners and walkers (both with and without dogs) in Ashland. The “trail” is actually an easement over private and public property for the conveyance of TID water and a road alongside the ditch created for canal “riders” who manage the ditch. If you are unfamiliar with an easement, think of the easement as a strip of parchment paper you can see through. The paper is placed on top of a map of the properties along the canal and through the paper the property lines denoting properties are visible. As such, the ownership of the underlying properties does not change with the easement.
There is a portion of the Ditch Trail that is managed by the City of Ashland. That portion is north of Roca and Elkader Streets. The City of Ashland allows the public to use the Ditch Trail in this area. However, the majority of the canal easement runs through private property and since the easement is not for “public use” but for the conveyance of TID water if a property owner wishes to fence their property and block the Ditch Trail they may legally do so. Some years ago a citizen, whose property was bisected by the canal blocked the trail with a fence. While citizens of Ashland were upset, the property owner was within his/her legal rights to block the Ditch Trail to the public.
As a result of that first fence, City staff and other organizations have been working to establish public easements along the trail, on finding an alternate route in the area, or worked with the property owner to get the barrier removed. This is the extent of what the City can do.