Front Page Forums Rights Right to camp


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    No person shall be denied the right to camp on public land.

    This is an important right to ensure that people always have somewhere they are allowed to camp and are not forced to wander without being able to lawfully lay down somewhere and sleep. The right compels the government to reserve some public land for camping throughout the country. As a practical matter, there should be some public land reserved for camping in each state or province.

    However, the right to camp does not mean that people can do whatever they want on public land or that government cannot enact laws and regulations for camping. The government may designate public land as a free camping zone, limited camping zone, or no camping zone. To ensure that no person is denied the right to camp on public land, each reservation must either be completely free or at least have a free zone.

    A free camping zone may have few or no public services, but should at least have some law enforcement. All public land that is not designated as restricted or prohibited for camping is assumed to be a free camping zone.

    A limited camping zone may have an entry fee, campsite rental fee, and other fees such as for utilities and may have some rules regarding behavior in the zone. There may also be a limit on how many people may be in the limited camping area at a time. People who don’t pay the fee or violate the rules may be denied entry to the restricted zone. A limited camping zone may be simply marked with a “limited camping” sign.

    A no camping zone is public land where camping is prohibited. It may be simply marked with a “no camping” or “camping prohibited” sign. Examples include a special nature preservation area, a city including its roadways and sidewalks, or a military base and surrounding areas.

    The availability of free camping sites on public land also means that state and local governments may prohibit camping in cities without violating anyone’s rights. In cities where camping is prohibited, the government should (but is not required to) provide transportation to and from public land if it is not adjacent.

    Governments should regularly patrol public lands and enforce the applicable laws and regulations.

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