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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. weary's Avatar
      weary -
      Quote Originally Posted by The Weasel View Post
      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
      I forget the details, but recently the Maine Supreme Court refused to order a new trial. The defense lawyer had argued that the prosecutor in his summary had improperly pointed out that his client had refused to speak to law enforcement people until he had a lawyer present.

      The justices decided that didn't matter. At least that is how I remember the newspaper and electronic stories about the case. I'll have to look it up.

      Weary
    1. weary's Avatar
      weary -
      Quote Originally Posted by weary View Post
      I forget the details, but recently the Maine Supreme Court refused to order a new trial. The defense lawyer had argued that the prosecutor in his summary had improperly pointed out that his client had refused to speak to law enforcement people until he had a lawyer present.

      The justices decided that didn't matter. At least that is how I remember the newspaper and electronic stories about the case. I'll have to look it up.

      Weary
      I have explored further. The case involved charges of murder. The defendant claimed self defense.

      The Supreme Court said the defense should have objected and asked for a mistrial when the remarks were made, not later in an appeal. It also said that regardless of the prosecution's errors, the case as a whole justified a finding of guilty.

      This suggests to me that one should choose ones lawyer with great care.

      Weary
    1. Key West Hikers's Avatar
      Key West Hikers -
      Like most reference materials, it contains more information than one might need in any particular situation, neverthless, it is an excellent survey of legal issues related to hiking. Good job.
    1. OOashOOO's Avatar
      OOashOOO -
      I can't get it to open for me
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      Please let me know if you continue to have problems, and ALSO send a "complaint" to the moderator**** so they know there is a problem. I sent you a PM about how to contact me directly and I can send you a copy.

      TW
    1. Lyle's Avatar
      Lyle -
      Can't open it either. Running Firefox on Linux. Never had a problem opening a PDF.

      This file, when saved is a .php. It will open in a text editor and appears to be an HTML file.
    1. Skidsteer's Avatar
      Skidsteer -
      Hmmm..you guys are right. The file attachment is broken for some reason.

      TW, you may need to re-attach the pdf. using the manage attachments feature. If need be you can send the article to me and I can do it for you.
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      Quote Originally Posted by Skidsteer View Post
      Hmmm..you guys are right. The file attachment is broken for some reason.

      TW, you may need to re-attach the pdf. using the manage attachments feature. If need be you can send the article to me and I can do it for you.
      e
      S---

      Thank you. In the interest of ease and functionality, I'd prefer to send it to you. Can you send me your email address and I'll "reply" with the most current version? I assume you have my email but if not send me a PM and I'll send it to you.

      TW
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      This is the most recent version of Law for Backpackers 101. I may revise it in the near future to include issues involving Service Animals on the trail; until then, a recent thread can be found by doing a search for "service animals".

      The Weasel
    1. Rockhound's Avatar
      Rockhound -
      seems like a lot of time wasted to me. Anyone one with one iota of common sense does not need a reference guide to determine if they are within the boundaries of the law. Any rules/regulations/laws that one will encounter along the AT are posted or in one of the 3 handbooks. ie. no dogs in the Smokies, no fires in CT etc.... I can understand how the Rainman clones out there might derive some enjoyment of having yet another reference book to assist them in pointing out what everyone else is doing wrong.
    1. Rockhound's Avatar
      Rockhound -
      There is however 1 rule I'm not entirely clear on however. What exactly are the rules and regs regarding packing out and disposing of ones feces? Surely there must be someone on WB with some expertise with this.
    1. Lyle's Avatar
      Lyle -
      Interesting read. I just skimmed the sections I didn't feel were pertinent to me. Thanks for all the work.

      One section that has me somewhat confused was regarding Landowner Liability when a trail crosses private property. My understanding, supported by NCTA and NPS is that the Michigan Recreational Land Use Act limits a landowner's liability to virtually zero (except of course for intentional or grossly negligent hazards) if they allow the public onto their property for recreational purposes (free of charge, that is). I was also under the understanding that virtually all states have similar laws on the books.

      Not really a major issue for hikers, but as one who is trying to get more folks to open their land to trail construction, it is a real issue. Is this limited liability not as widespread as I thought?
    1. The Weasel's Avatar
      The Weasel -
      Pebble:

      First, don't waste your time if you think that's what it is. There are a lot of urban myths about the law, however, that even some lawyers believe. But it's a lot more risky for you to be unaware of them. A few examples: Can you legally have alcoholic beverages in your pack in Baxter? Can you tell a police officer she can't search your pack? Is it legal to hike nude on the Summer Solstice? If you don't have insurance, does a hospital have to treat a trail injury? There are more. Ignore them if you think it waste of time. Not my problem. But don't later say, "I didn't know."

      Second, yes, some places have rules on what to do with human waste, and some parks that backpackers use require waste to be packed out. Most parks have their own rules, and you should consult the place you will be hiking in for them.

      TW
    1. Jack Tarlin's Avatar
      Jack Tarlin -
      Damn, Pebble, I think this is one of the more interesting and useful threads on this website.

      There's a really simple remedy for threads and posts that don't interest you, people:

      Like, um, don't read 'em.

      My, that was difficult.
    1. rickb's Avatar
      rickb -
      I was disappointed that the section on trespass and private property was not corrected to reflect how laws on that matter vary by state in some very significant ways.

      I have some other quibbles, but none that rise to a level that could not be covered by a blanket statement that the published information is intended as a general guideline rather than an definitive resource.

      Just one person's perspective.
    1. Jack Tarlin's Avatar
      Jack Tarlin -
      Of course it's meant as a general guideline......neither Weasel nor anyone else described this information as a "definitive" statement.
    1. rickb's Avatar
      rickb -
      The section on trespass is so incomplete that it borders on just plain wrong, Jack.

      That said, as a general rule it is safe to say "don't go on other people's property" without permission.

      That denies the law and tradition in many places, however.
    1. Jack Tarlin's Avatar
      Jack Tarlin -
      Geez, then write an alternate article if you find a present one incomplete or lacking.

      Or maybe it's just easier to criticize someone else's time and efforts.
    1. JoshStover's Avatar
      JoshStover -
      I think it is a wonderful and informative article...
    1. rickb's Avatar
      rickb -
      Jack is being "Jack".

      The Weasel specifically asked:

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

      Fact is, he acknowledged the law behind points that I (and others) raised and in this very thread. I was disappointed that he never got around to making the correction.

      I have left others alone.

      Now keep still.
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