Topic: Off Road Etiquette - Driving on Private Property
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When you are driving your SUV on private property, you are driving on property that belongs to someone else. Think of someone walking across your lawn or into your backyard. You will feel intruded upon. Likewise, property owners feel the same way when you venture on to their land. Common courtesy suggests that you get permission before driving on private property.

Most of the time, public lands, such as National Forests or Bureau of Land Management lands are crisscrossed with sections of private land. Roads will go from public land into private land and back again. The main roads will always be open to you because private landowners in this situation need to give access to those traveling through to other sections of public land. This does not mean however, that you have the right to venture off into the woods on their land. Review our web page showing you how to determine which land is public and which is private from a Forest Service map or from boundary markers in the forest.

Much private property is posted with "No Trespassing" signs but a lot is not posted. If there are no signs, this does not mean you have the right to drive helter-skelter where ever you like. Again, respect the landowners right and try to get permission.

If private lands are open to public travel, be sure to close any cattle gates you may open along the way. Also, stay on the roads. Most ranchers will get very upset about your making tire ruts on their grazing lands.

Here is a technique that will help you gain access to private lands for off-road driving, fishing, hunting, camping, and other activities. Find the land owner and offer to fix a gate or a fence. Offer to repair a bridge or do do anything else that helps improve his property. Land owners are used to everyone trespassing and tearing things up. When you show up the help out a bit, you will not believe the positive reception you will get.
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