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Justified Trespass: How and Why Recreationists May Sometimes Enjoy America's Private Lands

May 2006

Citation: 36 ELR 10392

Issue: 5

Author: Matthew Kupono Carr

Editors' Summary: All Americans should have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and wonder that our nation's lands have to offer. Yet while the number of public lands remains somewhat constant, the number of visitors to these places is rapidly increasing. Consequently, as America's recreational resources become more crowded, they are also becoming more degraded, less peaceful, and subject to more use limits. Meanwhile, several recreational opportunities exist on private lands. In this Article, Matt Carr explores the circumstances under which access to these "hidden gems" may be justified, setting forth the legal mechanisms that may be used to secure such access rights. While he acknowledges and respects the rights of landowners, he argues that public access to private lands can benefit society as a whole without unfairly burdening private landowners or negatively impacting the environment.

Matthew Carr received his J.D. from the University of California, Davis, where he received a certificate in environmental and public interest law. He attended the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where he received a B.S. in natural resource management, summa cum laude, and a B.A. in political science. He was born and raised in Hawaii.

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