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Jayeffel

Cache evident but not accessible

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Some of the most fascinating pedestrian land access laws are in the UK where things like "right to roam" are in play.  All kinds of interesting rules.  As an example, a path on private property is closed for one day a year (permissive path) so as to avoid having it eventually become truly public by legal definition. 

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3 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

 

After a bit of reading, from what I understand, Germany doesn't have a criminal trespass law like in the U.S. but recognizes the notion of "private property" rights through the use of civil claims.  A person can't be arrested for trespassing but a land owner can sue someone for occupying their land without permission.   The biggest difference from what I could see is when it comes to privately owned unimproved land.  In the US, the owner of a large pasture in Texas can put a fence around it, paint the posts purple and anyone entering the land without explicit permission can be arrested for trespassing. In Germany, one can pass through unimproved land without risk of a criminal penalty.  

This is a very good summary of the situation in Germany. Well ... at least I hope it's a good summary, because it matches my understanding of the situation ;) .

 

That said, I (usually) don't climb over fences, because a fence is a legally relevant indication that a property owner want's to keep the public out. But things can get complicated, because (at least in Bavaria, where I live) there is also a law which allows the public free access (on foot, not in motor vehicles) to the "nature". This specifically includes privately owned grassland and forests. So e.g. a fence around a part of the forest could be illegal itself (and therefore legal to cross).

 

Back to the thread topic ... If I can positively identify the cache (or its very likely location) a few meters inside a fenced-off area, I decide on a case-by-case base:

- If I'm physically unable to cross the fence, or I could do it but there are muggles around: I log DNF, describing the problem. The "muggles" can also be livestock inside the fence. It might be technically legal to cross an area, which has been temporarily fenced off to herd goats or sheep - but it's usually not a very good idea ;) .

- If I'm very sure that the area is really off limits to the public: DNF + NM

- If I can cross the fence, and it's in the middle of nowhere with nobody around: I proceed to the cache, but will mention the fence in my log.

In any case, if I only see the cache but don't reach it, I'd never log a find.

 

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2 hours ago, ecanderson said:

Some of the most fascinating pedestrian land access laws are in the UK where things like "right to roam" are in play.  All kinds of interesting rules.  As an example, a path on private property is closed for one day a year (permissive path) so as to avoid having it eventually become truly public by legal definition. 

In Germany there is a thing called "Gewohnheitsrecht" ... don't know how to properly translate it, but "customary law" might be close. Typical example: There is a footpath across your land, no gates or fences, and the path has been used since many years. Then you are not allowed to close off the path simply because you don't like the public traffic any longer. It's not a public path, it's still your property, but you can't close it without a valid reason - like, say, you want to develop the land. And in some cases you can't close it at all, when it's the only access to a (truly) public piece of land with "public interest", e.g. a lake shore.

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10 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

In the US, the owner of a large pasture in Texas can put a fence around it, paint the posts purple and anyone entering the land without explicit permission can be arrested for trespassing.

I remember a story of a young boy being shot in the leg while caching with his father. Hard to imagine something like this happening in Europe:

https://www.mercurynews.com/2011/09/28/trial-begins-in-shooting-of-boy-13-geocaching-with-his-father/

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12 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

I guess one of the ways I'm strange is that I consider the presence of a fence to usually be a clear statement of "No Trespassing - Keep Out!" An electric fence especially.

I have seen electric fences placed along public roads, so that cattle can graze there. The farmer does not own that land, so the public has the right to cross the fence. Same with dead end roads fenced off. Although the farm house might be the only house there, the farmer doesn't own the actual road and immediate land beside it, so the public has a right to cross that fence. However, that doesn't mean the farmer won't argue with you. And I wouldn't cross it without reason.

Arguing about land ownership happened to three of us one day out geocaching. We were on a derelict rail corridor (trains stopped running here years ago) searching for a cache when the farmer confronted us about being on "his land". We told him we were on railway land. He claimed it was now his. This happened in the state of NSW (rules vary between states re disused railway land). It's good to know the rules. "Interesting," I said, "I hadn't heard of this being sold, and you do know of course that it takes an act of Parliament before the land can be sold. When did this Act of Parliament get passed?" (Hate to sound a know-it-all, but this farmer was being very possessive of the railway corridor he didn't own; even after we smiled and informed him we were only using the rail corridor. He was refusing to accept that still existed and stating he now owned it.) Naturally he couldn't answer my question, because there hadn't been an act of Parliament to allow the rail corridor to be sold. "Well I as good as own it," he then said. Now the state government is investigating reopening that line. I wonder if the farmer knows that 😏?

This is not America. We don't have the gun culture, so much less likely to be shot. Although most farmers would own a gun, it's a different mentality re guns.

Edited by Goldenwattle

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The electric fence in the OP seems to be temporary.  Most landowners don't need electricity to announce their property lines to the public. The electricity is to let the goats know that they need to stay away, otherwise they may push and step over it. Plenty of goat rental operations out here, where they clear the thorny blackberry vines that grow like weeds.

 

10 hours ago, baer2006 said:

That said, I (usually) don't climb over fences, because a fence is a legally relevant indication that a property owner want's to keep the public out. But things can get complicated, because (at least in Bavaria, where I live) there is also a law which allows the public free access (on foot, not in motor vehicles) to the "nature". This specifically includes privately owned grassland and forests. So e.g. a fence around a part of the forest could be illegal itself (and therefore legal to cross).

The risk of liability seems to be a large motivator for landowners to keep people off their land in the US. And members of the public can disrespect the land by leaving trash or otherwise destroying it.  Does German law allow the public to sue the landowner for injuries if they get hurt while walking across the land?  Are Germans usually respectful of the private land they cross?

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2 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

I have seen electric fences placed along public roads, so that cattle can graze there. The farmer does not own that land, so the public has the right to cross the fence. Same with dead end roads fenced off. Although the farm house might be the only house there, the farmer doesn't own the actual road and immediate land beside it, so the public has a right to cross that fence. However, that doesn't mean the farmer won't argue with you. And I wouldn't cross it without reason.

[snip]

This is not America. We don't have the gun culture, so much less likely to be shot. Although most farmers would own a gun, it's a different mentality re guns.

 

I've heard that the UK has very different laws involving right of transit. I would imagine Australia's laws are similiar. From comments on this forum I have learned Germany has very loose trespassing laws. I would imagine it's a European thing. Laws are a bit different in the USA.

 

While guns are an issue in the US (cachers have on a few occasions even been shot at), threat to life merely compounds the issue but does not create it. Trespassing laws are much stricter over here and even the social norm, beyond what you could get convicted for, is I think. Even public land like state/national parks are often fenced because visitors are only supposed to use certain entrances.

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24 minutes ago, JL_HSTRE said:

involving right of transit

I don't believe we have that in Australia through private property, unless the route is gazetted. River corridors I believe are crown property (just as I believe there are no privately owned  beaches), so public access is allowed. But you might need to walk along the river for kms to access the area you want, as you shouldn't cross private land without the owner's permission. The public can enter Nature Reserves, National Parks (some have a fee - might depend on the State), and the like, unless the area has been closed.

Edited by Goldenwattle

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8 hours ago, noncentric said:

The risk of liability seems to be a large motivator for landowners to keep people off their land in the US. And members of the public can disrespect the land by leaving trash or otherwise destroying it.  Does German law allow the public to sue the landowner for injuries if they get hurt while walking across the land? 

Well ... this liability issue is actually a hornets' nest ;) . I'm not a lawyer, but I know that it's complicated. When the issue once came up in a geocaching group, the discussion was interesting and it seemed to be like "Ask three lawyers, and you'll get five opinions." Effectively, it's decided on a case-by-case basis. The landowner does have some obligations, but isn't responsible for everything. Some general guidelines seem to be these:

- If there is a path through your property, which is regularly used by the public (or even signed as a hiking trail), then the concept of "Verkehrssicherungspflicht" ("obligation to secure safe traffic") comes into play. E.g. the walkway along a road often belongs to the owner of the land beside it, and then this owner has to do basic winter service in case of snow. Or if a dying tree might fall on the path at any time, the land owner must cut it down.

- On the other hand, if you walk cross-country off an path, the land owner is definitely not liable, if you e.g. fall into a ditch and break your leg. The same is true, if you climb a tree and fall down.

- There are some special rules for forests. Even when you are walking on a roadway, the owner is not liable for "dangers typical for woods". This e.g. includes falling branches from otherwise healthy trees. It would be impossible for the owner to permanently check all trees near all the paths for loose wood. On the other hand, if a tree beside a roadway is obviously a danger (e.g. bent in a storm, and likely to break off anytime), then the owner must act. But there are many grey areas here, and in general, a land owner should have a good legal insurance.

 

8 hours ago, noncentric said:

Are Germans usually respectful of the private land they cross?

Well ... usually yes, I'd say. But of course you have the usual idiots who don't respect anything. So in that respect I don't think Germany is different from the rest of the world.

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9 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

River corridors I believe are crown property (just as I believe there are no privately owned  beaches), so public access is allowed.

 

While true about Australia and probably some other countries, neither of those is true about the US.

Edited by JL_HSTRE
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3 minutes ago, JL_HSTRE said:
9 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

River corridors I believe are crown property (just as I believe there are no privately owned  beaches), so public access is allowed.

 

While true about Australia and probably some other countries, neither of those is true about the US.

 

On an old usenet flyfishing group in which I used to participate river corridors were a hot topic.  The primary issue with river corridors (whether it's called a river, stream, creek or brook) that flows through or adjacent to private property is whether or not the waterway is considered to be navigable.  If one can float through a section of river in a canoe (even a float tube) it would be considered navigable and the land owner of wouldn't own the rights to the water.   Where the debates gets heated is when people started wading the river, walking the stream bed, and then stopping to fish five feet from shore in a good hole.  

 

As a recent owner of a house that has 150' of river access on one of the premier flyfishing rivers in the U.S. my opinion may change but for now, if I see some fishing in the river just off my backyard I'm more likely going to over and chat to see what kind of patterns they're using. 

 

It's an interesting discussion and relevant to geocaching as we all should be aware of local laws and ordinances which affect the game, and more than that, promote a good relationship between the players of the game and land owners.

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14 hours ago, noncentric said:

The electric fence in the OP seems to be temporary.  Most landowners don't need electricity to announce their property lines to the public. The electricity is to let the goats know that they need to stay away, otherwise they may push and step over it. Plenty of goat rental operations out here, where they clear the thorny blackberry vines that grow like weeds.

The risk of liability seems to be a large motivator for landowners to keep people off their land in the US. And members of the public can disrespect the land by leaving trash or otherwise destroying it. 

 

Many years ago, when my parents planted small trees on a large, cleared field, they had snowmobilers smash many down in just one winter.

They wanted to stay friendly, and allowed locals to hunt, so never put up posted signs.

Father put a simple two-wire fence around the property to protect new trees planted, but still allowing locals to step over it.

I guess one of the snowmobilers noticed, called the police, and father was told he could be charged if someone gets hurt (by hitting that fence). 

Their property since has trespassing signs placed every couple trees, along with that fence. "Staying friendly" ruined by a few louses.

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4 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

On an old usenet flyfishing group in which I used to participate river corridors were a hot topic.  The primary issue with river corridors (whether it's called a river, stream, creek or brook) that flows through or adjacent to private property is whether or not the waterway is considered to be navigable.  If one can float through a section of river in a canoe (even a float tube) it would be considered navigable and the land owner of wouldn't own the rights to the water.   Where the debates gets heated is when people started wading the river, walking the stream bed, and then stopping to fish five feet from shore in a good hole.  

 

We've had issues time-to-time here with "navigable" water, two just a couple years ago for stretches opened or purchased by the state for trout stocking.

One was owned on one side by a private homeowner, just moved in from another state (how to make friends and influence people... ;).

 - That one was settled in favor of the state with navigable waters. 

The other, an old lady who claimed everyone was taking advantage of her, owned both sides of the creek down to the recently purchased area.

Later, the state found that old lady not only never had anyone take advantage, but had a relative install a small fence under the waterline on the edge of her property.

 - Kept trout (dumped far upstream) from ever leaving her property to enter the public waterway.  Issues were cleared up quickly after that.    :D

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On 1/12/2019 at 1:17 PM, JL_HSTRE said:

 

I guess one of the ways I'm strange is that I consider the presence of a fence to usually be a clear statement of "No Trespassing - Keep Out!" An electric fence especially. 

 

There are exceptions, but they tend to be pretty clear: pass-throughs, ladders, and/or gates clearly placed for visitor access; gates placed to keep vehicles out not pedestrians; and of course if I'm invited or otherwise have clear instructions to cross the fence.

 

Now I understand why I see fences posted with a glut of signage...

 

It is very common here (UK)  for public footpaths to cross fields with livestock.    And sometimes electric fences.  The more permanent ones will have a way to open and close it, or cross it.    The temporary ones don't usually.    But if it is a public footpath, it is no issue to cross it.  

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16 hours ago, redsox_mark said:

And sometimes electric fences.  The more permanent ones will have a way to open and close it, or cross it.    The temporary ones don't usually.

 

How does one safely cross an electric fence without a gate?

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43 minutes ago, JL_HSTRE said:

 

How does one safely cross an electric fence without a gate?

Scissor jump for example.

or

On 1/11/2019 at 11:42 AM, DerDiedler said:

Take a stick, press it dowm, step over

 

Or just step over somehow and accept to get shocked once or twice. It´s medicaly safe ;)

 

Pro tip: Don´t relive your self onto a electric fence. It might be medicaly safe as well, but Dude, that hurts!  :D

Edited by DerDiedler
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2 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

How does one safely cross an electric fence without a gate?

 

One would use a gate to go through a fence and a stile to go over it.  If neither is provided, perhaps one shouldn't enter the area.

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4 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

 

How does one safely cross an electric fence without a gate?

 

Most common is a short section of rubber hose (installed by the owner) which you step over, it insulates you from any shock.

 

With the ones which are just some stretchy "string" I gently push them down with my walking stick.  

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On 1/12/2019 at 4:09 AM, DerDiedler said:

Yes I do.

Pysicaly nothing, but common sense works pretty well. So far no unwanted campers in my backyard :lol:

20190112_104801.thumb.jpg.3c4c1777daa90a85ea1c18819f4e286f.jpg

 

That´s well said. I don´t like like this black and white thinking. I like smart people hwo can make choices by theyre own.

 

Do walls work?  😉

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19 hours ago, bflentje said:

Do walls work?

 

Only when paid for.

 

:ph34r:

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19 hours ago, bflentje said:

 

Do walls work?  😉

In Germany they work 👻

image.png.f29deac609852e84648aa48a0fc1e062.png

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On 1/16/2019 at 12:10 AM, JL_HSTRE said:

How does one safely cross an electric fence without a gate?

Depends how they are strung. I have gone under them on my stomach.

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