Friday, October 21, 2005


Interesting story from September, out of Scotland: A millionaire wants to create a wildlife preserve inhabited by species native to Scotland, but long extirpated, including wolves, lynx and bears. He promises to surround the preserve (50, 000 acres) with a three metre high electric fence, to protect the public. But "Dave Morris, director of Ramblers Scotland, said: "We believe that such a fence would be contrary to the land reform legislation and the right of access."

The Ramblers have no problem with the introductions, even of the large predators--but they can't abide a fence. That they can argue that the proposed fence would be illegal demonstrates the profound difference between attitudes to land use and land ownership in Britain, and the attitudes in North America. There is a story at Sphere (A Victory for Public Access in Old Saybrook) about a fight to reclaim public land for public use.

Beyond the far edge of the far field is about 40 acres of mixed field and forests, hardwood and soft, deciduous and coniferous, with a trail running through it. The trail hooks up with an unopened road allowance (a public trail) on the other side. The land I walk on, including the far field, is privately owned. The owner has given me permission to walk there. The owner of the land beyond the far field has asked me not to walk there, so I don't. Oh, to be a Scottish rambler with right of access.

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