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Forum Index -> Trail Talk -> Private drive but no "No Trespassing" sign.
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Gestalt
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Post Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:53 pm   
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Does a "Private Drive" sign mean the same as thing as a "No Trespassing" sign? I came upon a situation yesterday with a road what was gated and signed "Private Drive" and didn't know if that means no trespassing or something less. What is the law's take on private drives?

Thanks.

Edward

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Dayhike Mike
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Post Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:25 pm   
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I'd consider them synonymous for all intents and purposes.

If it's gated and there's a sign posted, it's a pretty sure indication they don't want others to be wandering onto their land.

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"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
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Spotly
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Post Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:38 pm   
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I always considered anything not marked as mine (like National Forest) as private and by default is no trespassing. Not sure if the law sees it that way though.
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jenjen
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Post Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:49 pm   
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Take it as synonymous with "no tresspassing".

My land isn't posted "no tresspassing".  That does not mean everybody and their brother are welcome to set up a picnic and enjoy the view without even asking.  (this happens more often than you would expect.  It is not appreciated.)

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Bandanabraids
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Post Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:33 pm   
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If there is a gate and it is locked it means they don't want you or anybody else back there without an invitation.

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Slugman
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Post Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:52 pm   
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I think it's similar to seeing a sign on a piece of land that says Private Property. It's not exactly the same as No Trespassing, but it's pretty close.

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I get a warm and fuzzy feeling whenever I see parents taking their kids on backpacking trips, while at the same time wishing they would go away - Slugman

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Gestalt
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Post Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:05 am   
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Thank you all for your replies.

Edward

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Mtn Dog
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Post Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:51 am   
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Private Road or Private Drive means the road provides access to one or more properties/homes but was never dedicated to the public.  Private Roads remain easements to which the adjacent property owners retain rights and also have the responsibility of maintaining.

Some private road or land owners will grant access to the public, Juniper Forest east of Pasco was like this for a while.  But always seek permission first before setting foot on private property.

I think "No Trespassing" not only means the land is private property but the owners are also willing to enforce it by law.

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vibramhead
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Post Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:33 am   
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jenjen wrote:
Take it as synonymous with "no tresspassing".

My land isn't posted "no tresspassing".  That does not mean everybody and their brother are welcome to set up a picnic and enjoy the view without even asking.  (this happens more often than you would expect.  It is not appreciated.)

I agree that "private drive" should be read to mean no trespassing.

But regarding entry on rural land, it's a little more complicated.  In many states, one isn't trespassing unless the land is posted.  In Oregon, there are specific standards for posting land that abuts a public road.  You need a "no trespassing" sign every quarter mile, or a fluorescent orange paint blaze at least 50 sq. in. big.
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Gamuru
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Post Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:17 am   
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It was my understanding that in Washington State, posting is not required, meaning it's against the law to trespass on private property without permission even if the land is not posted.

EDIT: After doing a little additional research, it appears to not be so clear cut. The law states:

Quote:
RCW 9A.52.080
Criminal trespass in the second degree.

(1) A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the second degree if he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises of another under circumstances not constituting criminal trespass in the first degree.

In the definitions section it states:

Quote:
RCW 9A.52.010
Definitions.
(3) "Enters or remains unlawfully". A person "enters or remains unlawfully" in or upon premises when he is not then licensed, invited, or otherwise privileged to so enter or remain.

... A person who enters or remains upon unimproved and apparently unused land, which is neither fenced nor otherwise enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders, does so with license and privilege unless notice against trespass is personally communicated to him by the owner of the land or some other authorized person, or unless notice is given by posting in a conspicuous manner. Land that is used for commercial aquaculture or for growing an agricultural crop or crops, other than timber, is not unimproved and apparently unused land if a crop or any other sign of cultivation is clearly visible or if notice is given by posting in a conspicuous manner. Similarly, a field fenced in any manner is not unimproved and apparently unused land. A license or privilege to enter or remain on improved and apparently used land that is open to the public at particular times, which is neither fenced nor otherwise enclosed in a manner to exclude intruders, is not a license or privilege to enter or remain on the land at other times if notice of prohibited times of entry is posted in a conspicuous manner;

I read that to say that unless it's posted (either verbal or signed) on unimproved land (not being gated and/or fenced), you can enter.

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Slugman
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Post Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:36 pm   
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Good info. The OP's original question included a gate on the road, which I would take to be "fenced" and not "unimproved", so it would be trespassing.

Imagine my car breaks down, and my cell phone is out of range. I want to ask a nearby homeowner to let me use their phone to call AAA. I see a driveway marked "Private Drive", I'm going to walk up and knock. I see one marked "No Trespassing", then I'm not. I'm assuming no gate in either scenario. Private drive seems more like "Don't come up here thinking it's a road, please have some legitimate business". No Trespassing means they might have a gun and an itchy trigger finger.  embarassedlaugh.gif

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I get a warm and fuzzy feeling whenever I see parents taking their kids on backpacking trips, while at the same time wishing they would go away - Slugman

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Chief Joseph
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Post Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:49 pm   
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Maybe they need a sign like this one I saw in Idaho to better clarify?

I assume they mean that they will shoot a picture of you....

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aywolfpac
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Post Wed Jul 13, 2011 5:53 pm   
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Chief Joseph wrote:

Maybe they need a sign like this one I saw in Idaho to better clarify?

I assume they mean that they will shot a picture of you....

I always like the ones that say:

"Trespassers will be shot.  Survivors will be shot again."

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Malachai Constant
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Post Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:05 pm   
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MtnDog had the closest to the correct answer. Usually private drive means a drive that is not a public road. No Trespassing means the owner does not give you permission to be there. Frequently this is done to prevent the strict liability to owners that occurs if invitees are injured on their property. It used to be if you had a hunting or fishing license you could enter any land not posted, I do not know if this is still the case. The law can get complicated when criminal trespass is involved especially if self defense is raised. You are not privileged to shot trespassers inmost cases but if they enter a dwelling house you may well be allowed to do so. This is not and is not intended to be legal advice.

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MCaver
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Post Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:48 pm   
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I assume that all private property is "no trespassing" by default, sign or not. Coming from Texas, crossing private land because it's unmarked is a good way to catch a bullet.  tongue.gif
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