Anyone can block you from accessing your public lands, roads, trails, and right of ways, waters, and they can do it legally.
You read that right. There currently exists no Idaho law protecting your right to access public areas that you pay for. That means anyone can barricade a public tract and prevent your horse, ATV, or motorcycle from passage without fear of repercussion. And even more common, Idaho sportsmen are running into “NO TRESPASSING” signs on public lands and waters that they have every right to access. Don’t believe it? Check out this news story and the video of an encounter with an armed security guard patrolling a Forest Service road.
Right now, for instance, public funds can be used to purchase and maintain permanent, motorized public access on a road. Anyone can physically obstruct that road and block your access without fear of repercussion. Imagine your disappointment when you draw a coveted elk tag only to show up on opening day to find a locked gate across a public road. Sure you can call the local sheriff. But with extremely limited funding, and perpetrators with deep pocketbooks, local law enforcement simply can’t prioritize prosecuting these types of cases.
The scenarios are endless, but one thing is for sure, your right to access public property is not secure. IWF has been working with legislators, motorized recreation groups, and sportsman groups to close this loophole and create a succinct amendment to an existing law that will put the power of protecting public access in the people’s hands. To review the most updated version of the proposed legislation click here.
Have you ever seen signs or physical barriers to impeding access your public lands? Submit your story below and we will deliver your comments to our legislators.