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  1. #1
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    Default Would a federal freedom to roam law work in USA?

    I am a Norwegian, and I spend most of my vacations in the US (about seventeen now). I have also worked there, and been a student there. There are a lot I love about USA, but the lack of freedom to roam has annoyed me quite a lot.

    What is freedom to roam, and how does it work?
    Well, there are differences between countries, but here is how it works in Norway:
    - You can hike in any wilderness areas, who ever owns it (also on private land), and no one can deny you that.
    - You can put up a tent, as long as it is at least 150 meters from the nearest building.
    - You can stay in the same spot at a maximum three days in a row.
    - You can even bike on the trails.

    What has annoyed me in the US.
    - Most land you canít hike freely on, because it is private property. And if it is not private, you often have to have a permit. In Norway a permit is unheard of, and we donít pay anything to enter National parks.
    - You have to have knowledge about who owns the wilderness you want to enter. You donít have to check anything in Norway. If it is wilderness, you can use it.

    Could this work in the US? Would anyone here on White blaze want this system?

  2. #2
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    I can't imagine someone setting up a tent in Bill Gate's backyard for three nights. Exchange Bill Gates with any other "elite" and this is why it is unlikely to happen. Private property rights have a long history in the US for right or wrong.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malto View Post
    I can't imagine someone setting up a tent in Bill Gate's backyard for three nights. Exchange Bill Gates with any other "elite" and this is why it is unlikely to happen. Private property rights have a long history in the US for right or wrong.
    You got a good point here. The law does not just cover wilderness. Just a long it is at least 150 meters away from a house, you can use it. "Bill gates backyard" would work just fine in Norway. There has been some legal disputes regarding putting up illegal fences in order to deny people access. (It reminds me of the disputes around beach access in Malibu). You can even freely use privately owned piers or wharfs.

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    Here in the US we seem to value property more than human life. Private property basically means NO TRESPASSING! It's one of the reasons The Monkey Wrench Gang hasn't been made into a movie, because a film showing the wanton destruction of p-r-o-p-e-r-t-y sends the wrong message, while human-on-human violence is absolutely okay (and a big seller at the box office).

  5. #5
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    Oslo hiker.. setting up your tent on private land, without the landowner's knowledge andwithout any standing agreement will only lead to trouble. Big trouble.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNH View Post
    Oslo hiker.. setting up your tent on private land, without the landowner's knowledge andwithout any standing agreement will only lead to trouble. Big trouble.
    Not if there is a law that says you can?

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    All else aside, our system of government leaves such things to the states. The federal government has no authority in this area.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

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    Do you know why europeans come HERE to hike?

    because its much less restricted than in europe.

    Heres the problem in a nutshell. Too little land there, too many people.

    Were working on the same problem.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Do you know why europeans come HERE to hike?

    because its much less restricted than in europe.

    Heres the problem in a nutshell. Too little land there, too many people.

    Were working on the same problem.
    I highly doubt that many Europeans come to hike in the US. Do you have any numbers?

    In Norway half the population hike one or more times every year. How many Norwegians have thru-hiked the Appalachian trail?
    (My motivation would be for the love of USA and the American culture).

    What is more restricted in Europe? Please explain.

  10. #10

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    I have enough problems with people on my land illegally. Hunting, fishing, whatever. They cut fences letting cows out, damage gates, destroy hay bales for winter feed. Why would land I worked hard to pay for just be available to anyone?

    I love to hike, camp , and roam, but there is more than enough public land to do that.

    Permits aren't that tough to get when you need them.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Oslohiker View Post
    I highly doubt that many Europeans come to hike in the US. Do you have any numbers?

    In Norway half the population hike one or more times every year. How many Norwegians have thru-hiked the Appalachian trail?
    (My motivation would be for the love of USA and the American culture).

    What is more restricted in Europe? Please explain.
    Plenty of germans hike the AT each year
    For instance, from what I know of, its almost impossible to legally camp anywhere in germany except a commercial campground designed for car camping. Every forest in the country has a forestmeister that tickets people for illegal camping. To take a simple trip is supposed to be a huge hassle.

    Its not just for hiking, but there tends to be many europeans , especially germans, in Yosemite national park.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 05-29-2016 at 20:07.

  12. #12
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    Oslohiker, you certainly have a warped sense of "freedom." What you are describing is not freedom at all. It is the big hand of government suppressing the rights of property owners.

    I own a farm out near the edge of the swamp. If I catch ANYONE on my property without permission a .12 gauge shotgun will be staring them in the face, along with 5 guard dogs.

    About 5 years ago, just after midnight on Christmas Eve, I held two millennial punk trespassers face down in the dirt at gunpoint for two hours until the Game and Fish wardens arrived. They were happy as hell when they saw the blue lights of the game wardens in the distance. After they were cuffed and taken into custody, we found a young doe they had shot. Bastards. Never saw those maggots, though. Oh yeah, the State sent me a check for $100 for capturing those two night-hunters. SWEET!

    It's like this, Oslohiker, you can keep your uber-taxed Norwegian socialist, big-government-owns-everything, form of government. I much prefer private property ownership and the rights and freedoms contained therein.

    Nevertheless, you are always welcome to the USA where freedom still means something.

    OkeeefenokeeJoe

  13. #13
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    I wish we could have right to roam laws, but I don't think they would have much of a chance passing in the US, our culture is based to heavily on private property rights.

    A more immediate problem and one that needs to be resolved is that under the laws of most States in the US a property owner can be sued and held financially liable if a person gets hurt on their property. Many of the no trespassing signs that I see in my area are posted primarily because the landowner is fearful of a lawsuit. If landowners wer e able to allow people on their land without fear of being sued then there would be a lot more properties that would be accessible to the public.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Plenty of germans hike the AT each year
    For instance, from what I know of, its almost impossible to legally camp anywhere in germany except a commercial campground designed for car camping. Every forest in the country has a forestmeister that tickets people for illegal camping. To take a simple trip is supposed to be a huge hassle.

    Its not just for hiking, but there tends to be many europeans , especially germans, in Yosemite national park.
    There is a documentary about Appalachian trail that has run in Germany like forever. That has inspired a lot of Germans to thru-hike the Appalachian trails. But I promise you that there are several times more Germans in Norway during the summer time enjoying the freedom to roam.

    You are right in that many Europeans visit National Parks in the US. They have a love for American culture, and visit everything they have heard of "over there". The big cities and the most known national parks. And they eat hamburgers and drink Budweiser, and feel real American. But it is nothing wrong with that. But go to some of the less known and you will hardly find any.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by OkeefenokeeJoe View Post
    Oslohiker, you certainly have a warped sense of "freedom." What you are describing is not freedom at all. It is the big hand of government suppressing the rights of property owners.

    I own a farm out near the edge of the swamp. If I catch ANYONE on my property without permission a .12 gauge shotgun will be staring them in the face, along with 5 guard dogs.

    About 5 years ago, just after midnight on Christmas Eve, I held two millennial punk trespassers face down in the dirt at gunpoint for two hours until the Game and Fish wardens arrived. They were happy as hell when they saw the blue lights of the game wardens in the distance. After they were cuffed and taken into custody, we found a young doe they had shot. Bastards. Never saw those maggots, though. Oh yeah, the State sent me a check for $100 for capturing those two night-hunters. SWEET!

    It's like this, Oslohiker, you can keep your uber-taxed Norwegian socialist, big-government-owns-everything, form of government. I much prefer private property ownership and the rights and freedoms contained therein.

    Nevertheless, you are always welcome to the USA where freedom still means something.

    OkeeefenokeeJoe
    BE nice, it is a legitimate question. There is something to be said for freedom to roam, as there also is for property rights.
    enemy of unnecessary but innovative trail invention gadgetry

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oslohiker View Post
    I am a Norwegian, and I spend most of my vacations in the US (about seventeen now). I have also worked there, and been a student there. There are a lot I love about USA, but the lack of freedom to roam has annoyed me quite a lot.

    What is freedom to roam, and how does it work?
    Well, there are differences between countries, but here is how it works in Norway:
    - You can hike in any wilderness areas, who ever owns it (also on private land), and no one can deny you that.
    - You can put up a tent, as long as it is at least 150 meters from the nearest building.
    - You can stay in the same spot at a maximum three days in a row.
    - You can even bike on the trails.

    What has annoyed me in the US.
    - Most land you can’t hike freely on, because it is private property. And if it is not private, you often have to have a permit. In Norway a permit is unheard of, and we don’t pay anything to enter National parks.
    - You have to have knowledge about who owns the wilderness you want to enter. You don’t have to check anything in Norway. If it is wilderness, you can use it.

    Could this work in the US? Would anyone here on White blaze want this system?
    hell no. next!

  17. #17

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    I have an onX Hunt app, not because I hunt.

    I have it because it works with a GPS and has property boundaries and ownership.

    It has a 1-year subscription for each state.

    I think it is worth it, because I like to know where it is okay to hike and camp, and find out what rules apply.

    I have heard England has a "walker" law, that allows walking on private property.

    There are rules that apply. Nevertheless, when I was in England I would not do it.

    Why? Private property is important here, and ownership of land gives us more standing in the community: it is a fact.

    If you are a transient, or, viewed as a transient, is to be avoided. Not by other citizens nearly so much as by the law.

    There seems to be practically no protective law for anyone that is thought to be a transient: avoid that perception.

    I understand, for example, hostel travel is very acceptable in Europe. Not here.

    Look like a tourist, even if you stay at a hostel.

    In many places, a backpack is unacceptable. In some places, there is a city ordinance about putting a backpack down on the sidewalk.

    Not the AT, however for San Francisco, CA it is a fact.

    I like the open land concept in Norway I read about. I would like to cross-country ski in Norway, if only because I see pictures of so much open country (no fences).

    Is a backpack acceptable for a traveler or a tourist in the cities, in Norway?
    Last edited by Connie; 05-29-2016 at 21:14.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oslohiker View Post
    I am a Norwegian, and I spend most of my vacations in the US (about seventeen now). I have also worked there, and been a student there. There are a lot I love about USA, but the lack of freedom to roam has annoyed me quite a lot.

    What is freedom to roam, and how does it work?
    Well, there are differences between countries, but here is how it works in Norway:
    - You can hike in any wilderness areas, who ever owns it (also on private land), and no one can deny you that.
    - You can put up a tent, as long as it is at least 150 meters from the nearest building.
    - You can stay in the same spot at a maximum three days in a row.
    - You can even bike on the trails.

    What has annoyed me in the US.
    - Most land you can’t hike freely on, because it is private property. And if it is not private, you often have to have a permit. In Norway a permit is unheard of, and we don’t pay anything to enter National parks.
    - You have to have knowledge about who owns the wilderness you want to enter. You don’t have to check anything in Norway. If it is wilderness, you can use it.

    Could this work in the US? Would anyone here on White blaze want this system?
    This could not work in the USA. I (and my close family members) own nearly a thousand acres of wilderness in Maine. While we allow people access to it, we also require that they ask permission, and have the written permission on them at any point while on our land. Trespassing has lead to jail to for several violators. My family has had some of this land in the family longer than the American flag has had 50 stars, and I have added to it as finances have allowed. My hard work is dedicated for my family of my choosing, not for all of mankind.

    At our residence in Florida, we have a 20 acre plot out in the Nature Coast jungle. We routinely find "campers",homeless persons, meth junkies, and trash dumpers. Private Property is exactly that. PRIVATE. The United States is not a socialist country, yet. God forbid....

  19. #19
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    Folks, I have heard that someone on Facebook is organizing a really fun tent festival in Oslohiker's backyard. If you decided to attend please remember to follow all the rules - stay at least 150 meters from his house and other buildings, and remember to leave in 3 days. Because of a smallish lot size, the number of tent sites is limited, but supposedly the organizers will be posting the number of open spots twice daily. If asked by anyone, please invoke your freedom to roam right.
    Have fun!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoolBobby View Post
    This could not work in the USA. I (and my close family members) own nearly a thousand acres of wilderness in Maine. While we allow people access to it, we also require that they ask permission, and have the written permission on them at any point while on our land. Trespassing has lead to jail to for several violators. My family has had some of this land in the family longer than the American flag has had 50 stars, and I have added to it as finances have allowed. My hard work is dedicated for my family of my choosing, not for all of mankind.

    At our residence in Florida, we have a 20 acre plot out in the Nature Coast jungle. We routinely find "campers",homeless persons, meth junkies, and trash dumpers. Private Property is exactly that. PRIVATE. The United States is not a socialist country, yet. God forbid....
    ......................................

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