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“‘No trespassing’ laws create personal playgrounds for the wealthy” #archery

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"The bill was supported by a coalition of agricultural groups and big landowners, including lobbyists for the Wilks brothers, Texas billionaires whose combined holdings make them the 13th largest landowners in America. They own 702,000 acres and pay private security guards to patrol their property boundaries. In 2016, they bought and closed off 172,000 acres of land in Idaho, parts of which had been open under the previous owners.
This new Idaho law makes me think of Georgian England as I’ve just finished researching and writing a book about land-access rights and how we’re losing them today.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, English aristocrats got Parliament to pass laws to make the land their own — a process known as “enclosure.” Aristocrats pushed people off the land and hired armed gamekeepers. They excluded whomever they wished and enjoyed exclusive access to deer and grouse. What were once common lands that supported the livelihoods of many people became personal playgrounds and new sources of wealth for the already rich.
This sounds like the West in 21st century America: billionaire landowners who get what they want from legislatures. Vast areas of land closed off.
Privatized wildlife.
Armed security guards.
This trend extends well beyond Idaho; in Montana and New Mexico, wealthy outsiders can close off access to streams.
Today, frustrated sportsmen and recreationists don’t really challenge the status quo. They advocate for amendments, such as the freedom to cross checkerboard corners of public land or for the privilege to retrieve a downed animal on private land. These do little more than loosen the handcuffs.
We should be looking at the bigger picture.
We should be arguing for a full-on right to roam. …
There is no reason why the people of Idaho can’t have a similar right to roam.
For hunters, anglers and hikers, this would mean being able to legally cross private lands to get to public lands and waters.
For landowners, it would mean privacy in and around your home, immunity from frivolous lawsuits, and the right to sue for damages.
But it also would mean no more unnecessary “no trespassing” signs, no more hoarding game, no more draconian trespass laws.
When Europeans are freer than Americans,
when the moors of England are more open than the plains of Wyoming, and
when our laws are crafted for the sole benefit of the landed gentry,
we Americans have clearly lost our way.
So let’s stop putting up with enclosure for the few and reclaim our old rights, the rights of the many. It’s not their right to exclude, fine and shoot us. It’s our right to roam." https://www.hcn.org/articles/opinion…or-the-wealthy


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