To the editor:

As a former member of the Rockport Rights of Way Committee, I would like to respond to the June 4 article “Ruckus builds over Rockport Rights of Way.”

The defining achievement of the original Rights of Way Committee was the thorough documentation of historic easements across every single property along the Atlantic Path. These documents were vetted by town attorneys and have been archived in Town Hall for many years. And yet, every subsequent Rights of Way Committee has had to defend this public path, over and over again. Why must the town, and its rotating cast of officials and attorneys, keep fighting the same battle? When will Rockport residents, and our visitors, be able to walk the path without question and confrontation?

What is often misunderstood about these rights of way is that they are both private property and public paths. It isn’t a matter of one or the other. Each property owner has their rights, but so does the public, through the easement. Neither has the right to insist on peremptory dominion.

It is very disturbing to see the picture of police officers stationed in front of the “private property” signs along the path. Who made the decision to send them there? Whose rights were they protecting? Why weren’t there police officers accompanying the walkers on the path?

Rockport residents merit accountability, and some answers, from both the police department and town officials. I hope the Gloucester Daily Times will continue to cover this story.

Bill Mueller


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