The concept of private property is well understood in our country.  The truth that there are public resources such as water, fish and wildlife that are owned by everyone is also fairly established.  Opening one’s land to the public is a voluntary service that has numerous benefits.  Many landowners invite sportsmen to hunters animals, typically for a fee.  Another property owner I know has a hot springs on his land and allows limited public visitation, while request a donation for maintenance and upkeep.

Many ranchers have agreed to government agencies and community volunteers to conduct habitat restoration projects on their land: erecting cattle fences along waterways, planting native vegetation, lessening flood dangers through stream stabilization, and placing bird and bat boxes.

Locally, there are many examples of people opening their lands to their fellow community members.  One couple bought 1,000 acres simply to conserve the parcel and they allow folks to visit and hike at any time.  Another gentleman decided to welcome children on his land for environmental education field trips and as a result, hundreds of students have enjoyed his hospitality and his land’s splendor.

While national parks may be a day’s drive away from one’s home and even state parks and other recreation areas may require some time on the road, private lands and our neighbor’s acreage may be close at hand and readily accessible.  While it is always important to seek permission from a property owner before visiting, there may be some friends and neighbors who have announced that visits are welcomed at any time.  We are fortunate to have such an arrangement here.  Neighbors freely walk by on our rutted road, by foot, horseback, bicycle, and during winter via sled and snowboard.  I am allowed to traverse the hills handpicking exotic weeds, and during those special moments, I can enjoy sweeping vistas, spot wildlife, and see all of the properties in my area, without boundaries, borders, and feel blessed that our tiny community embraces and welcomes others.  ~

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