See, I told you there were legal issues tied up in hiking. In fact, hiking and hiking trails can bring up all kinds of legal disputes. For example, lawsuits can actually be brought on behalf of the trails themselves, like one suit brought on behalf of the Appalachian Trail itself, by environmental groups trying to stop power lines from being built near the trail.
For hikers themselves, potential trespass onto private lands is often a possible risk. And it’s not just a risk for those walking along trails but those who like to kayak or canoe as part of their expeditions.
But there are lots of other legal issues that hikers need to be aware of, from what to do with wildlife and plants they encounter along the way to possible vagrancy charges, alcohol violations, and nudity restrictions (before you bath in that beautiful pond!).
Finally, it’s somehow comforting to know that the rich and famous can fight over hiking issues too. Just a few months ago, one of Oprah’s neighbors in Telluride, Colorado sued Oprah, claiming that when she brought the property this spring (for almost $11 million!) erased easements that previously existed that allowed neighbors to access the trails that cut across her property. This same neighbor was responsible for creating the easements back in 1989 so the odds are high that he will continue to fight for his right to access the trails as they cross Oprah’s property. But can anyone take down Oprah?
So have fun hiking out there, but watch out for “no trespass” signs and Oprah!