Access to state-owned ancient Indian mound blocked by nearby property owner

Access to state-owned ancient Indian mound blocked by nearby property owner

BRADENTON, Fla. — An ancient Indian moundBradenton, owned byThe state is the only remaining vestige of a Native American tribe that inhabited the area a thousand years ago. However, the I-Team learned this more than a decade later. propertyWas supposed toBe accessible toA neighbor’s public record blockedIt’s done.

Security cameras can be found behind a metal gate. “no trespassing”The signs are there ancient Indian moundThis was once the heart of a settlement in which Tocobaga Indians farmed, fished and hunted close to Tampa Bay.


“They buried their chiefs probably in this mound and other important people,” said Scott Bassett.

Bassett is an historian, attorney, and former neighbor who spearheaded efforts toMake sure to keep the mound.

Attorney Scott Bassett led efforts to get the Forever Florida program to purchase the mound and for Manatee County to agree to manage it.png


“This is our window into the past. And I think we can learn a lot about how the prior residents of our area lived. What was important to them,” Bassett said.

Buys from the State moundSave $145,000

Asa Pillsbury, the owner of the land, gave it to her. toThe South Florida Museum, 1974.

But in 2007, the museum listed it for sale, saying it didn’t fall within its mission.

Bassett County and Manatee leaders convinced the state toYou can purchase it from the “Florida Forever” program.

“Our agency wholly supports putting the Pillsbury Mound into public ownership, not only for its historical significance but because it is considered a sacred place,”The state archeologist informed Gov. Jeb Bush’s cabinet at the time.

The state paid $145,000 to Manatee County. toManage it, protect it against damage, and give it reasonable access toThe public.

“I want to pledge our department’s sincerity and our Board of County Commissioners to manage the property properly,” said Charlie Hunsicker, Manatee County’s Public Resources Manager, at that time.

Access to property is a problem

However, state-owned propertyIt is only accessible by landlocked means by a 50-foot easement running alongside what is now Gordon Sampson’s property.

Map from Manatee County Property Appraiser's site shows boundaries of state-owned property courtesy Manatee County Property Appraiser.png

Manatee County Property Valuer

Map taken from the Manatee County Property Assesser’s website shows boundaries state-owned property

Property records show 50-foot easement to access mound courtesy Manatee County property records.png

Manatee County Property Records

According to property records, there is a 50-foot easement toAccess mound

Drone video shows close proximity of Pillsbury Mound to neighbor's mansion WFTS.png


Sampson acquired the propertyThis home features over 13,000 square feet under the roof.

The county appraised the propertyAt $4.3 million

“They would have known, every step of the way, that that easement was there. Nobody can claim ignorance. It’s right there in black and white,” Bassett said. “50-foot-wide easement all the way up to the mound and beyond. “

Notes we received from the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s office showed Sampson requested and was granted a reduction of his property taxes in 2013 due to “title/easement issues.”

Zach Richardson of Manatee County said he tried toVisit the mound in 2019 after learning about it on a website, but Sampson wouldn’t allow him.

Zach Richardson says he's been unable to get permission to visit Pillsbury Mound WFTS.png


“I met him on the street. I asked him if there was an Indian burial mound. He was kind of angry and said no, there’s nothing out there,”Richardson stated. “I came back later and tried to go out there and he confronted me again and called the sheriff’s [office]. “

Richardson was issued a trespassing warning, but it was later rescinded.

A Manatee County Sheriff’s Office attorney sent Sampson a letter that said the Manatee County Sheriff’s office “cannot subject a visitor to the mound to arrest for making legitimate use of that easement.”

Now, security fence blocks easement

Sampson quickly installed a security barrier.

“I don’t think he’s got a right to put up a fence there. He’s clearly impairing access,” Bassett said.

The county management plans, which were filed with the state back in January and approved in march, include “guided tours and interpretive talks given by staff and volunteers”The plan states that the site would allow for up to to 10 visitors per day.

Sampson declined toComment, but Stephen Dye, his attorney, said that his client was protecting the moundVandals and treasure hunters byDeny access.

He stated, “Open it!” toVisitors would make poor use of county resources, as they are not allowed to visit other areas. IndianMounds can be found in many places already. nearbyParks in counties

Nadine Zigare, a Native American activist, lives in St. Petersburg and said that it was important to use sites such as Pillsbury Mound. toInform the public.

Native American activist Nadine Zacharie says sites like the Pillsbury Mound are sacred and important to help teach history  WFTS.png


“They consider these mounds sacred sites, just like they would a synagogue, a church, the Wailing Wall,” Zacharie said.

We contacted the county and a spokesperson confirmed that they had been informed. “at this time Manatee County has no comment in regards to access to the state-owned property”. We were asked how we could book an appointment. toVisit the Indian mound, he directed us toThe state.

The spokesperson for Florida Department of Environmental Protection (which oversees the operation) “Florida Forever”Program, as stated in an email “Manatee County is the land manager for the Pillsbury Temple Mound property, so any access to the property must be coordinated through their parks department.”

We’re not the only ones who can’t get an appointment.

“I’ve called, I’ve emailed, left voice mails and no response,”Richardson stated.

State requires that all counties provide education opportunities

A spokesperson for DEP stated that the plan this year required the county to comply with all regulations. “include educational opportunities for the interpretation of the historical and resources contained on the site. “

“The county should actually do what it’s supposed to do, what it’s legally obligated to do and stop worrying about offending somebody who may have a lot of money,” Bassett said.

“If they do nothing more than put a whole big plaque up there and maybe every three months, have a native speaker come out and celebrate it… it would mean an enormous amount to me,” Zacharie said.

If you have a story you’d like the I-Team to investigate, email us at [email protected]. – * Source link

Joseph Hubbard

Joseph Hubbard is a seasoned journalist passionate about uncovering stories and reporting on events that shape our world. With a strong background in journalism, he has dedicated his career to providing accurate, unbiased, and insightful news coverage to the public.

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