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  • Law for Backpackers

    LAW FOR BACKPACKERS 101

    The file that is "attached" here is the final version of my full Law for Backpackers 101 article, that began as a series of summarizations of topics with a lot of message debate in the "Straight Forward" Forum. It's in Adobe PDF format, which is easy to open, but if you can't, it is probably because you don't have Adobe "Reader." If that's the case, it's available on the Internet for free at Adobe.com.

    If anyone has suggestions, I welcome them, and comments about anything in here - pro or con - are welcome.

    I'd also appreciate you voting in the Poll above. It helps me with considering revisions.

    I hope this is useful to you. Thanks for letting me try.

    The Weasel
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Law for Backpackers started by The Weasel View original post
    Comments 130 Comments
    1. The Old Fhart's Avatar
      The Old Fhart -
      Rickb-"The best No Trespassing sign along the AT was on the fence to the National Zoo's breeding farm.

      Not sure if its still there. A real classic."
      What makes you think it's still there?
      Attachment 4686(click for larger image)
    1. rickb's Avatar
      rickb -
      How about this one? Looks like they replaced a stolen sign not long before the photo was taken.
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      If anyone is eaten by an animal (or anything else) at the National Zoo, please call me as soon as possible. I don't get easy cases often, and I can make the decedent's family 2/3 rich.

      Rusty
    1. WalkingStick75's Avatar
      WalkingStick75 -
      Has the attachment been removed? Where can I download this article?
    1. SGT Rock's Avatar
      SGT Rock -
      I'm trying to figure that out now.
    1. SGT Rock's Avatar
      SGT Rock -
      Hey Rusty - Do this:

      Comment-> Additional Options (underneath the posting box)-> Managa Attachments-> Browse-> Navigate to your file and select Open -> Upload -> After the file has uploaded, go to the bottom of that pop-up and select Close This Window -> Then Submit Reply
    1. SGT Rock's Avatar
      SGT Rock -
      The attachment is fixed.
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      I've made some updating on trespassing, and one member may be sending me (here or separately) some good suggestions on contact with law enforcement authorities. Other suggestions are welcome; I'd like to finish the update by the end of August.

      Rusty
    1. emerald's Avatar
      emerald -
      I'd suggest adding information to The A.T. Thru-hiker's Companion on fires among other things at the appropriate locations. Fires come up often and few if anyone at all seems to be clear on the issue in certain areas.

      Too much will not be remembered when people are on the A.T. and few seem to carry ATC's guides these days. I did and thought I benefitted from them, but I expect not many can be sold on that idea.

      Thank you for your efforts.
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      Shades, are you suggesting a section in this article about fires?

      TW
    1. emerald's Avatar
      emerald -
      Many people are already claiming your article is too long. I think it's important, useful and could be expanded. Whether it would reach the audience it should and whether they will remember what they read when they should is what concerns me.

      I'd like to see more of what is in ATC's guidebooks which today's through hikers refuse to carry put in The Thru-Hiker's Companion. Someone or a committee needs to give it a thorough going over to see if through hikers are informed about what behavior is expected of them. When or where one may kindle fires in the mid-Atlantic states where the A.T. is on state-owned land is only one item about which the majority seem to be clueless.

      Maybe you could simply point out things are different in the middle and refer through hikers to one of the guidebooks which should all provide this information.
    1. rickb's Avatar
      rickb -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shades of Gray View Post
      Maybe you could simply point out things are different in the middle and refer through hikers to one of the guidebooks which should all provide this information.
      The guidebooks never really got the camping regs in the Whites correct. Not a big deal, though.

      The one legal area that seems to be missing is that surrounding carrying used stoves and fuel bottles on airplanes.
    1. rickb's Avatar
      rickb -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel View Post
      Shades, are you suggesting a section in this article about fires?

      TW
      I think there is a lot of misinformation on that. I once had I guy tell me I was breaking the law simply for having a fire in a Federal Wilderness Area.
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      I'll think on the "fires" topic. But having something that says, "Fires may be regulated in different ways" isn't much help to backpackers, and this article tries not to be focused on the AT alone, which means wildly different laws from state to state. (California is really, really hard on fires.) Suggestions?

      TW
    1. emerald's Avatar
      emerald -
      I think the article is most useful for preliminary planning purposes. I mean things that must be done before reaching the A.T. for an extended hike or are generally applicable.

      When things differ from one location to another, the information specific to particular locations is best mentioned in the guidebooks which hikers should have with them to refer to as needed.
    1. Appalachian Tater's Avatar
      Appalachian Tater -
      There are two really good videos, one by a policeman and one by a lawyer explaining why you should never ever ever talk to the police without a lawyer present even if you are innocent. They are over 20 minutes each but well worth watching.

      http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...75&vt=lf&hl=en

      http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...58915912&hl=en
    1. John B's Avatar
      John B -
      Quote Originally Posted by Appalachian Tater View Post
      There are two really good videos, one by a policeman and one by a lawyer explaining why you should never ever ever talk to the police without a lawyer present even if you are innocent. They are over 20 minutes each but well worth watching.

      http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...75&vt=lf&hl=en

      http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...58915912&hl=en
      Outstanding videos, excellent information, and I appreciate you posting the links.

      When stopped and questions by police, never for any reason whatsoever talk to them. Keep your mouth SHUT and exercise your constitutional rights and ask for an attorney.
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      That's probably more confrontational than is a good idea. To say it more briefly than I probably do, answer questions about who you are and why you are in that location politely and briefly. You only need to ask for an attorney if it appears that they are questioning you further about a crime that they think you may have committed or if they ask you to get into a police car or are taken to a station.

      TW
    1. BigToe's Avatar
      BigToe -
      Thank you, Weasel. I found the article interesting and useful. My sons and I just finished up a section hike last week and in fact we were discussing vagrancy laws on the trail because they carried very little money and I was worried that if we were separated in a trail town could they be considered vagrants. I would be very interested in future revisions. I think the length is just fine. It's the law - not easily summarized! I appreciate your sharing this with our community.
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