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Public Access Landlocked Publicly Owned Land

Concerning authorizing an individual to move between two adjacent parcels of public land that touch at the corners, and, in connection therewith, creating a task force to study the issue of access to public lands that are blocked by privately owned lands and making an appropriation.
2023 Regular Session
Courts & Judicial
Natural Resources & Environment
Bill Summary

Section 1 of the bill authorizes an individual to move from one corner of public land to another corner of public land where 2 public parcels meet 2 private parcels and share a common border, without being liable for criminal or civil trespass, if:

  • 2 parcels of public land touch so that the individual can reasonably step from one parcel of public land to the other parcel of public land, or if there's a fence, could make the step as if there were not a fence;
  • The individual moves over private land only as much as necessary to cross from one parcel of public land to the other;
  • The individual does not step on or stand on the privately owned land or touch a fence on or other improvement to the privately owned land, but the individual may use mechanical means to move over the privately owned land; and
  • The individual does not use a vehicle other than a wheelchair to cross over the private land.

This authorization does not apply to the following:

  • Moving over an improvement to public land that is designed to be occupied by individuals;
  • Entering public land to use it in a way that violates the law;
  • Moving over public land that the governing entity has prohibited the general public from entering or has controlled access to.

Section 1 also prohibits a landowner from erecting an improvement to such a corner that is more than 54 inches high within 4 feet of the corner. Section 2 requires a court to dismiss a trespass tort if the defendant has complied with section 1. A successful defendant is awarded costs, including attorney fees. Section 3 instructs the parks and wildlife commission to promulgate rules codifying the actions allowed in section 1. The division of parks and wildlife will publicize the rules.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)




Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details