Thirty years ago, homeowners just outside of Phoenix bought 250 acres at the top of Black Mountain to keep developers out.

The government sold it to them with the understanding that it would remain open for the public to enjoy. Now, many of those same homeowners are working to keep out nature lovers, claiming they trample vegetation and compromise local residents' privacy.

The homeowners consider themselves conservationists.

"Preservation means you close the land and people don't have access to it," said resident Robert Carsia.

But outdoor enthusiasts disagree, saying they are conservationists.

"Preservation means preserving the land in good condition while still allowing people to visit it," said hiker Paul Diefenderfer.

A recent newspaper article rated Black Mountain the best hike in the Northeast Valley. Hikers say if the city and county don't allow a hiking trail on Black Mountain, they'll sue. Federal law clearly favors the hikers, leaving many legal experts to say the question isn't whether they'll get a trail, but how wide it will be.

Click here to watch a report by Fox News Channel's Trace Gallagher.