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How to Fight for the ‘Right to Roam’ on BC Land and Water

Opinion: An important new book from the University of Victoria is “a tool for people in British Columbia who want to legally challenge the ‘no trespassing’ signs that stand between them and the places they love.” is”

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Two years ago, a BC Supreme Court judge lashed out at the Victorian government for failing to uphold the public’s right to access Victoria’s ‘valuable’ lakes, streams, trails, forest trails, mountains and waterfront. Did. , Nature. “

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Judge Joel Groves gave fishermen looking to enjoy several lakes at the mammoth Douglas Lake Ranch, owned by U.S. billionaire Stan Kroenke, specific what the B.C. government has done nothing for decades. In effect, he defended a movement known as the Right to Claim Rights. Roam.

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Outdoors people have engaged in hundreds of battles, such as at Douglas Ranch, to assert their legal rights to nature, including opening the Fraser River Trail blocked by Vancouver’s private Marine Drive Golf Club. increase. Kilometer Crystal Falls Trail in Coquitlam.

Like Justice Groves, these intrepid nature lovers believe that, for a variety of reasons, many of the myriad “no trespassing” signs posted in both rural and urban areas of British Columbia are made of paper, plastic and metal. , or feel frustrated that the wood has no legal value. they are printed.

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But signs effectively intimidate the public.

But now recreational enthusiasts are getting a big boost from the University of Victoria’s legal experts. They describe exactly how ordinary citizens can legitimately and responsibly access the country’s lands and waterways.

The 58-page book, Wild Places and Green Spaces: A Citizen’s Guide to Proving Public Access, published Thursday, says, “British Columbians are taking notice of the no-go signs between them and the places they love.” It’s a tool for those who want to challenge legally,” said UVic. Environmental Law Professor Calvin Sandborn, who oversaw the project on behalf of the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC

“We are very concerned about the gradual loss of access to outdoor sites for fly fishers, hikers, birdwatchers, kayakers and other recreation enthusiasts,” said Louise of the BC Outdoor Recreation Council. Pedersen says.
“We are very concerned about the gradual loss of access to outdoor sites for fly fishers, hikers, birdwatchers, kayakers and other recreation enthusiasts,” said Louise of the BC Outdoor Recreation Council. Pedersen says. Photo by James Wheeler /From wild places and green spaces

“Designed for citizens seeking to make legal claims that their paradise is still publicly accessible.”

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The Douglas Lake Ranch incident is just one of many conflicts that have kept British Columbians from the wild places they used to go, Sandborn said. Metro He ranch in Kroenke, which is twice as large as his in Vancouver, and a active outdoorsman based in Merritt. I lost.

In his ruling, Judge Groves said B.C.’s attorney general — until David Eby stepped down and ran for prime minister — needed to improve trespass laws and protect people’s rights to roam the natural world. said. “But until reform is done, this guide will help British Columbians use current legal principles to achieve public access to many places.”

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The first thing a citizen guide does is certify that the public has the right of access to wilderness roads, trails, lakes, foreshores and waterways that are inaccessible illegally to hikers, kayakers, fishermen and anglers. It is to explain exactly how the public can gather the evidence needed to other nature lovers.

This book contains important tips for residents of cities such as Metro Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna, and uses land registry documents, government maps and other public resources to guide individual householders to the waterfront. It describes how to indicate how the aisles are blocked.

These potentially fantastic right-of-way to ocean beaches and lakeshores are far more prevalent than most people realize. As with the area, trails are often hidden due to the habit of posting tons of shady “private property” signs.

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The second thing guides do is establish legal principles that advocates of the outdoors can invoke to prove their right to travel on roads and trails. One important way is to show that government funds were used to maintain forests and ranch routes even a century before him.

This allows the route to be legally called a ‘highway’, essentially proving that it is still dedicated to public use. As Sandborn says, “A highway is always a highway.”

Public support is essential to promoting the right to roam, says Louise Pedersen, executive director of the British Columbia Outdoor Recreation Council. It has disappeared in both rural and urban areas as roads, paths and trails are blocked by gates, fences and no-entry signs. “

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Citing just one initiative to end golf club blockades on Vancouver’s Fraser River Trail, Sandborn said civic guides would help supporters understand the circumstances of opening the trail. increase. “If the facts and principle meet, the person and his lawyer can seek justice and perhaps remove the ‘no trespassing’ sign.”

“This new book is designed for citizens seeking to legally claim that their paradise is still open to the public,” said Calvin Sandborn, an attorney at UVic’s Center for Environmental Law. says. He helped direct law students and others who created Wild Places and Green Spaces. Photo by Holly Pattison

And not hikers, swimmers, or climbers want to be free on terrain or waterways. The Citizen Guide states that British Columbia’s land law requires that everyone using government-owned Crown land be responsible, behave safely, remove all trash, and “enjoy other Crown land users.” It emphasizes that it does not expect to build permanent structures so that “the

UVic’s “Citizen’s Guide” makes it clear that it does not deal with the complex issues surrounding First Nation claims and ownership of BC land, but it has been around for centuries, if not thousands of years. Throughout, various “colonial” laws and statutes have emphasized the protection of citizens’ land rights. use a lot of land.

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Even the Roman Empire codified access. So did the Magna Carta in England, which in 1217 guaranteed people the right to go to the Royal Forest to collect timber and honey. After the democratization movement in Europe, Scotland, Wales, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and many other countries have fully recognized roaming rights, often on private land.

With its many insights, the guides and upcoming workshops offered by UVic’s Center for Environmental Law should help protect more natural places for the common good. It makes no sense to manage much of B.C.’s wonderful land and water, ostensibly for people. “

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dtodd@postmedia.com

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How to Fight for the ‘Right to Roam’ on BC Land and Water

Source link How to Fight for the ‘Right to Roam’ on BC Land and Water

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