Tres­passers won’t be for­given

The Glengarry News - - Sport in the Glens -

Spring is the time when many peo­ple’s thoughts turn to for­ag­ing for wild ed­i­bles, such as wild gar­lic and mush­rooms.

But lovers of ramps and morels must also re­mem­ber that laws must be re­spected when they ven­ture out on a pick­ing expedition.

Any­one en­ter­ing pri­vate prop­erty without le­gal au­thor­ity or the per­mis­sion of the oc­cu­pier may be found guilty of an of­fence un­der the Tres­pass to Prop­erty Act. The bur­den of proof that per­mis­sion was given is on the ac­cused.

The Tres­pass to Prop­erty Act, and its com­pan­ion, the Oc­cu­piers’ Li­a­bil­ity Act, were en­acted in 1980 to pro­tect the rights of oc­cu­piers, while al­low­ing them to con­trol ac­tiv­i­ties on their prop­erty. “Oc­cu­pier” means any­one in le­gal pos­ses­sion of land; le­gal owner or ten­ant. Places sub­ject to the Act in­clude land, wa­ter and build­ings, in­clud­ing por­ta­ble struc­tures.

Oc­cu­piers can use signs to show which ac­tiv­i­ties they al­low. When choos­ing signs, be sure that the sign re­flects your true wishes. Signs pro­hibit­ing one ac­tiv­ity only re­fer to that ac­tiv­ity; not to any other un­named ac­tiv­i­ties. For ex­am­ple, a “No Fish­ing” sign only pro­hibits fish­ing; not hik­ing or hunt­ing. To pro­hibit all ac­tiv­i­ties use a “No Tres­pass­ing” sign. The use of signs does not af­fect your right to give in­di­vid­u­als per­mis- sion to use your land.

Signs used to pro­hibit or re­strict en­try to prop­erty must con­form to the Act. They can show your wishes through sym­bols or words. All signs must be clearly vis­i­ble in day­light and placed at ev­ery nor­mal point of ac­cess to the prop­erty.

While signs may be used to show when en­try is pro­hib­ited, en­try to some ru­ral prop­erty is pro­hib­ited even without the use of signs. En­try is pro­hib­ited without signs to a “gar­den, field or other land un­der cul­ti­va­tion, in­clud­ing a lawn, or­chard or vine­yard” (fields are “un­der cul­ti­va­tion” whether seeded or not; snow cov­ered fields are “un­der cul­ti­va­tion” if seeded), land en­closed in any way that shows the oc­cu­pier’s in­ten­tion to keep peo­ple off or an­i­mals on the premises, any prop­erty where trees have been planted but have not grown to an av­er­age height of six and a half feet, or wood­lots on land used pri­mar­ily for agri­cul­tural pur­poses.

If you come across tres­passers, po­litely re­quest that they leave. The Act gives oc­cu­piers, in ad­di­tion to the po­lice, the power to ar­rest tres­passers. How­ever, if the tres­passer is an armed hunter, or has re­fused to leave, call the po­lice. If the tres­passer dam­ages your prop­erty, the courts can award you up to $1,000 com­pen­sa­tion for dam­ages caused by the tres­passer. To re­cover dam­ages over $1,000 you must file a law­suit against the tres­passer in court.

Land sur­vey­ors, util­ity me­ter read­ers, pub­lic health in­spec­tors and con­ser­va­tion au­thor­ity staff are ex­empt from the re­stric­tions. If in doubt, ask the per­son for their iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and au­thor­ity to en­ter your prop­erty.

WARNED: For­ag­ing for wild ed­i­bles has al­ways been pop­u­lar. How­ever, pick­ers are re­minded that the rights of pri­vate prop­erty own­ers must also be re­spected.

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