Equestrian Easements in Diamond A
The majority of properties in the Diamond ‘A’ Ranch Estates have equestrian easements on one or more sides. These easements were created when the Diamond ‘A’ Ranch Estates were first developed. Over the past 50 years, the easements have been the basis for the recreational riding and hiking trails that have been enjoyed by members of the Diamond A community.
The presence and continued maintenance of the equestrian easements provides a number of advantages to the Diamond A community.
1. In addition to use by horses and riders, an increasing number of residents use the easements for hiking and dog walking.
2. Having well maintained equestrian easements confers a certain cachet for our community that can only enhance property values
3. Well maintained easements provide additional access routes for personnel combating wildfires
4. Our network of easements provides protection for wildlife mobility and, as other communities have found, reduces collisions between wildlife (particularly deer) and automobiles on our roads. The connections between the easements in Diamond A (both Diamond ‘A’ Ranch Estates and Diamond ‘A’ Ranches), the easements of the George Ranch and larger open spaces north and west of Diamond A make significant contributions to movement and protection of wildlife across a large portion of Sonoma County.
All deeds for properties in the Diamond A Ranch Estates reference one of the maps retained by the Sonoma County Recorder’s Office. For example, “Lot 24, as shown upon the map entitled “Map of Diamond ‘A’ Ranch Estates Unit 5, Sonoma County, California,” filed December 29, 1966 in Book 113 of Maps at page 25-31, inclusive, Sonoma County Records”. Examination of page 31 of Book 113 shows that Lot 24 turns out to have an equestrian easement on its southern border and on its eastern border.
The text of the “Grant Deed” for Lot 24 may never mention the term “Equestrian Easement”, but reference to the map reveals a notation of “P. Eq. E” which “Indicates private equestrian easement only for the benefit of Diamond ‘A’ Ranch Estates property owners and members of the Diamond ‘A’ Riding and Racquet Club Inc. (not offered for dedication)”. The Diamond ‘A’ Riding and Racquet Club became the Diamond ‘A’ Recreation Association.
Owners of properties that include equestrian easements must not construct any barriers that prevent use of the easements. Barriers include fences (unless unlocked gates allow for passage), buildings, excavations, and landscaping. If a property owner constructs such a barrier, a violation can be filed at Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management by any resident of any unit in the Diamond 'A' Ranch Estates or by any member of the Diamond 'A' Recreation Association.
Over time, growth of naturally occurring native vegetation (oak tree, bay trees, manzanita, coyote bush, etc.) can effectively block use of easements. Responsible property owners, whenever possible, cut back such growth. In addition, the Trailblazers club (see separate tab) had been sponsored fund raising activities so the professional landscaping maintenance workers can clear areas that cannot be maintained by property owners (the advancing age and/or infirmity levels as well as budgetary restraints of some of our community residents have prevented routine maintenance of some equestrian easements.)
The Diamond ‘A’ Neighborhood Association encourages contributions so that equestrian easements can be maintained for the community.