[Tagging] Who has the last word over the access tag?

Yves ycai at mailbox.org
Mon Apr 26 16:19:48 UTC 2021

After thinking this through, I really think that the most important information the access tag should convey is not public nor private, but access=discouraged_by_owner, full definition being "authorized by law, but discouraged by the land owner".
Definitively, the access tag should inform any user that they are walking on thin ice when using those paths. 

Le 26 avril 2021 07:45:37 GMT+02:00, Kevin Kenny <kevin.b.kenny at gmail.com> a écrit :
>On Sun, Apr 25, 2021 at 7:53 AM Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
>> this is a fable built on a real-world case. Please don't guess what the
>> real-world case behind this is; it doesn't matter. Do me a favour and
>> discuss the fable.
>I don't do fables very well, so let me go with one example from my own
>There is a carriage road in the Catskills - where is not important right
>now - that was the first access to a particular remote valley.  It was
>later replaced with a modern highway.
>The old road never saw an automobile, and was never upgraded for automobile
>traffic. It was possible to force passage in a Jeep, and fire observers
>staffing a tower did so until 1980 or so, when the fire tower was
>decommissioned and razed.
>In the latter part of the 19th century, some robber barons decided to
>establish an exclusive hunting club with extensive facilities in the
>valley, and bought the land on both sides of the old road. At some point,
>they raised a court case claiming that the road was abandoned - after all,
>it was impossible to drive a car on it. They lost the case; the road
>provides access to a wilderness area for fire fighting, rescue and
>research. It remains a public right-of-way under the law.
>Nevertheless, the club has continued to post NO TRESPASSING signs where the
>road crosses its land, and to gate the road. Local hiking clubs encourage
>hikers to disregard the signs and pass the gates 'openly and notoriously'
>(a term in Anglo-American law).  Most club members and many of the local
>police are aware of the situation, and allow hikers to pass unmolested, but
>every two or three years, there's an incident where a hiker will be
>confronted by a club member who is not familiar with the situation, and
>have the bad luck of having that club member summon a cop who's also
>unfamiliar with it, so there have been incidents where a hiker has spent a
>night in jail before the situation could get sorted out - whereupon all
>charges were dismissed because the hiker was in the right.
>What's 'observable on the ground' is the NO TRESPASSING signs.  According
>to the law in the courtroom, they lie. But to disregard them risks at least
>a MAJOR inconvenience!
>In a similar case in a different forest, a land purchaser decided to ignore
>a deeded easement for a hiking trail that predated the purchase of the
>property, and posted the trail unlawfully. After an incident where hikers
>were fired upon, the club that maintained the trail decided to reroute it
>for safety. No charges were ever laid against the landowner, since the
>hikers could not identify who fired the shots. Twenty years later, the
>trail remains closed, cutting off all access to a lean-to and to a fine
>Since the whole concept of 'private property' depends on respect for and
>enforcement of the law, I'd submit that in all these cases, and probably in
>your fable, the observable situation on the ground is 'might makes right.'
>If accessing a property will get you fired on, it is private whether the
>wielder of the gun is a policeman or a criminal. If a government's monopoly
>on violence has been broken, then the property belongs to whoever is
>defending it.
>73 de ke9tv/2, Kevin
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