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Nordic Everyman's Rights


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They allow MUCH more than walking:


Everyman's right


The traditional Finnish legal concept of everyman's right allows free right of access to the land and waterways, and the right to collect natural products such as wild berries and mushrooms, no matter who owns the land. These rights also generally apply to foreign citizens, with certain exceptions related to local boating, fishing and hunting rights.


Everyman's right means that access to the land is free of charge, and does not require the landowner's permission. People taking advantage of these rights are nevertheless obliged not to cause any damage or disturbance. Everyman's right consists of a set of generally accepted traditions that have also been enshrined in various laws and regulations.


Within the EU, such rights are most widely applied in the Nordic Countries, where the right to roam and pick berries and mushrooms is an important part of local cultures. In other countries such rights vary considerably, and are typically much more limited - partly because these countries are more densely populated and have fewer forests, but also because of their different land-ownership traditions.


Everyman's right in brief

Everyone may:


walk, ski or cycle freely in the countryside, except in gardens, in the immediate vicinity of people’s homes, and in fields and plantations which could easily be damaged

stay or set up camp temporarily in the countryside, a reasonable distance from homes

pick wild berries, mushrooms and flowers, as long as they are not protected species

fish with a rod and line

row, sail or use a motorboat on waterways, with certain restrictions; swim or wash in inland waters and the sea

walk, ski and fish on frozen lakes, rivers and the sea

You may not:


disturb other people or damage property

disturb breeding birds, or their nests or young

disturb reindeer or game animals

cut down or damage living trees, or collect wood, moss or lichen on other people’s property

light open fires on other people’s property, except in an emergency

disturb the privacy of people’s homes, by camping too near them, or making too much noise, for example

leave litter

drive motor vehicles off road without the landowner’s permission

fish or hunt without the relevant permits

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The Nordic Everyman's Rights have probably nothing to do with placing caches.

From the website of Finland’s environmental administration (bolded by me.) :




Leaving litter is prohibited everywhere in Finland. This regulation covers the disposal of all kinds of wastes and other objects that could endanger health and safety, spoil the appearance of the surroundings, or otherwise make the environment less pleasant.


Liquid wastes are also included in the laws against litter, and may not be disposed of by simply pouring them into the ground or water. Petrol and oil are hazardous wastes, which should be treated with special care.


Everyone is legally responsible for cleaning up after themselves.


Like all legislative or enactment-style text, the above quotation too is somewhat ambiguous and can be used to argue both for and against placing geocaches. Someone might think a (visible - even in camo) geocache container is spoiling the landscape and 'making the environment less pleasant'. :lol: Of course, not everyone thinks like that. On the other hand, geocaches always have an owner who are responsible for cleaning up if necessary. And the most important thing, of course, is that a geocache hardly is litter. Trash quite seldom has an owner or coordinates. Or a home page. :o The geolitter matter has been spoken (in Finnish) also here. (The English equivalent is here.)


In my opinion, geocaching fits quite well in the concept of everyman's rights.

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In my opinion, geocaching fits quite well in the concept of everyman's rights.

I agree with Divine and my opinion is based on the experience of walking, boating and camping in Finland for some decades already. I however like to limit my opinion to the countryside only, and even there one may find areas of Finland where Everymans rights are understood differently. I am unable to fit Everymans rights into any city or even a village !!??

I think that all cachers should accept the fact that there are some areas of land where it is reasonable to limit the amount of free entrance, even in Finland. It might be an advantage for Geocaching if we as a community would show that we are willing to obey these limitations. There certainly is enough room for caches in Finland.

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We have a cache placed in a bird protection area, that is offlimit for a short time every year. But that is written on the cache page and during that time are the cache temporary disabled and we do not accept logs during that time. It is from April 1st to July 15th it isn't allowed to enter the area, but the rest of the time is it okay, and it is a wonderful area with a splendid view... That's the reason why we hided it there!

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When I said that everyman's rights have nothing to do with placing caches, I meant that there is no such RIGHT as the right to place caches. Therefore, the reference to everyman's rights was wrong.


Let us consider the following example: Geocacher goes to Land Owner's forest and places a cache container there. Land Owner happens to be present and says, "I forbid you to place caches on my land. And I forbid you even to come here." Geocacher responds, "Okay. I will take the box away because this is your land and you decide. However, under everyman's rights, I have right to walk here."


The supposed conversation above shows how everyman's right concerns walking on another person's land but does not concern placing caches. The question whether placing caches is forbidden for some other reason is another topic, but you cannot invoke everyman's rights to justify the cache.

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You are correct in a way saying that everyman's rights doesn't give you excat permission to place caches. In the other hand it doesn't excatly deny it. So everyman's rights gives you some rights and also denies some. Like most laws it leaves much to interpretation. I think that basic principle on Nordic legislation is that if something has not been denied you can do it if it is in a spirit of the law. Therefore it is quite acceptable to bring up everyman's rights in this discussion.

Edited by TeamMH
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