Natural landscapes provide something for everyone, which is why so many people chose to participate in different forms of outdoor recreation. Exploring stretches of uninterrupted forests, where you might not encounter someone for hours at a time, helps us shift our focus away from everyday affairs, but we have to be mindful about the land we are on. Public land exists to by enjoyed by all. Private property, on the other hand, does not. Trespassing onto posted private land is illegal, whether it is intentional or not. It may be easy to think, “I’m just quickly cutting through this land to get to other public lands, so what’s the harm?”, but doing so violates someone else’s property. We might believe that hiking or mountain biking across someone’s land a couple times will have little to no impact, but if enough people cut through private property, a trail will begin to form, encouraging even more people to trespass.

In order to prevent unintentionally trespassing onto private property, be aware of “No Trespassing” or “Posted” signs, and look online or on a map ahead of time to see if the land that you plan to use is public or private. Such signs will be found along the border of a private owner’s property. If you see a “No Trespassing” sign while hiking or biking along a trail, avoid going further, and find an alternative route that does not cross over into private land. Only venture onto private land for recreational purposes if you have the expressed permission of the landowner for your intended use. Remember, some landowners may permit certain activities on their land but not others. It is ultimately up to the individual landowner. Closely check signs around the property before considering entering.

Being considerate of private property helps insure that everyone can enjoy the outdoors and helps us all Leave No Trace.