Freedom to roam

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**Nordic Countries’ Right to Roam**:
– In Nordic countries like Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, the right to roam is deeply rooted.
– Access rights typically allow activities like walking, skiing, horse riding, cycling, fishing, and swimming in natural environments.
– Specific regulations apply to motorhome or camper parking, overnight stays, and activities in national parks, nature reserves, and private lands.
– Each country has varying rules regarding freedom to roam, with some having more restricted access to privately held land.

**Specific Country Regulations**:
– **Finland**:
– The right to roam, known as ‘jokamiehenoikeus’, allows activities like berry picking, fishing, camping, and boating.
– Prohibitions include disturbing wildlife, damaging property, cutting down trees, lighting open fires without permission, and driving off-road without consent.
– **Norway**:
– ‘Allemannsrett’ allows passage through uncultivated land with respect for the environment and landowners.
– Regulations cover activities like camping, fishing, swimming, and restrictions on disturbing wildlife and damaging property.
– **Sweden**:
– ‘Allemansrätten’ allows access to nature with responsibilities to protect it.
– Regulations include restrictions near private gardens, dwellings, cultivated land, and permissions for picking wild flowers, mushrooms, and berries.
– **Iceland**:
– Allows access to uncultivated land and berry picking rights.
– Restrictions include crossing private property without permission, limitations on cycling, equestrian activities, and camping rules.
– **Estonia**:
– Access to natural and cultural landscapes by foot, bicycle, ski, boat, or horseback.
– Permitted activities include gathering natural products and simple hand line fishing, with restrictions on fenced private property.

**European Country-specific Regulations**:
– **Belarus**:
– Citizens can gather forest resources for personal needs as guaranteed by the Forest Code.
– **Austria**:
– ‘Wegefreiheit’ allows walking, running, hiking in most forest areas with restrictions on other activities.
– **Czech Republic**:
– Legal right to roam through the countryside with exclusions in certain land types.
– **Italy**:
– Varied beach access situations with pressure to increase free beach access from the EU.
– **Switzerland**:
– Swiss Civil Code guarantees freedom to roam with some cantons having detailed regulations on access rights.

**United Kingdom and Devolved Nations**:
– **United Kingdom**:
– Limited access to land before the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, gradually implemented region by region.
– **Scotland**:
– Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 established right to universal access to land.
– **Northern Ireland**:
– Considered the most regressive and restrictive in Europe regarding access rights.
– **Republic of Ireland**:
– Keep Ireland Open campaign aims to improve access to the countryside with limited freedom to roam.

**North America and Oceania Access Rights**:
– **United States**:
– Approximately 28% of total land area accessible to the public with varying state policies.
– **Canada**:
– Crown land administered by provinces allows free access for recreational activities.
– **Australia**:
– Australians have access to Crown land for recreational activities, with specific regulations in place.

Freedom to roam (Wikipedia)

The freedom to roam, or "everyman's right", is the general public's right to access certain public or privately owned land, lakes, and rivers for recreation and exercise. The right is sometimes called the right of public access to the wilderness or the "right to roam".

Hikers at Kinder Downfall, Derbyshire, England. Kinder Scout was the site of a mass trespass in 1932.

In Austria, Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and the Czech Republic, the freedom to roam takes the form of general public rights which are sometimes codified in law. The access is ancient in parts of Northern Europe and has been regarded as sufficiently fundamental that it was not formalised in law until modern times. However, the right usually does not include any substantial economic exploitation, such as hunting or logging, or disruptive activities, such as making fires and driving offroad vehicles.

In countries without such general rights, there may be a network of rights of way, or some nature reserves with footpaths.

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