By JULIA ROBERTS GOAD
The Mingo County Commission refused a request from some local property owners to put up a gate that would prevent area residents from hunting near the Twin Branch Motorsports Complex site.
Jeremy Abraham and Dr. Gregory Burnett are owners of P&G Properties, and own land near the site, which is near the Logan/Mingo county line adjacent to US 119. The two men asked the County Commission to block access at the entrance to Twin Branch. They said, due to the layout of the lots, they could not secure their property without a locked gate at the Twin Branch site.
They said people were going on their property to hunt, and that after the July 4 holiday, there was a significant amount of litter left on their land.
“I was up there last winter, and there were people hunting, not on property owned by the county, but on our property,” Dr. Burnett said. “We have spoken to the conservation officer, and the only way we are going to be able to stop this is if you keep that gate locked.”
“The property owned by the county has no woods,” Jeremy Abraham told the MCC. “There is no where to hunt.”
Dr. Gregory said there is danger to people if hunters are shooting on the property.
But Commissioners said the property belonged to the people of the Mingo County, and they would not block citizens’ access to the site.
“I disagree,” Commissioner David Baisden said. “I am up there at least twice a week, and I have never caught anybody up there with a gun. I am not going to tell the citizens of the county they can’t hunt on their own property.”
Commissioner Greg “Hootie” Smith said the county had invested taxpayer money on the Twin Branch site, and that it belonged to the people of the county.
“We have invested substantial taxpayer money, and we are not going to tell people that cannot go on their own property,” Smith said.
Dr. Gregory said he felt the MCC’s position was a “political decsion.”
Commissioner Baisden said he didn’t understand why people from outside Mingo County would come in and try to block access to the site.
“Why in the world don’t you just invite people in?” Baisden asked, explaining that MCC had security at Twin Branch on the weekends to protect the County’s investment. “Not all hunters are poachers and rogues. I will not agree to lock that gate as long as I am on this Commission.”