Tips for stopping trespassers needed!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by DixyDoodle, May 6, 2007.

  1. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    Ok, at the risk of starting yet another thread about whether someone has the right to trespass or not, please let me just say that I don't want to get into that! I think it's safe to say we've pretty much exhausted THAT topic for awhile.

    What I need is some tips for stopping people from trespassing, specifically with their ATVs.

    I was contacted by a neighhour whose property backs up onto ours---keeping in mind that we both own large acreages, so we don't actually "see" each other; we're talking woodlands here. There is a large "unoffical" (private) trail that runs the length of our properties. There have always been a couple of people sneaking through there, but lately it is starting to become a larger problem. The trails at the far back portion of my land is not travelled by me frequently, but upon talking with the neighbour, took a tour and found that there are now 2 feet deep trenches on my trail, dug up by ATVers (he says he's got ruts over 3 feet deep). The other farmer is livid and who can blame him? He said at one time, he caught a pack of 20 people out there!:mad:

    Anyhow, it turns out that these bikers are cutting through both our lands---did I mention that this is PRIVATE property, and no one has permission to be there---and destroying everyone's trails. Apparently these folk just think that since there is a trail there, it's a free-for-all.

    So.....how to stop them? According to the neighbour, he put up cables, etc, and they were cut. Since my property also is split by the CN railway tracks, they had put up gates, which are normally left open. We've been thinking of shutting them, but would need CN's permission. The issue is that if people are crossing at that point, should a highspeed train nail them, THEY are held liable since according to our law, CN must take precautions at their crossings, so getting them locked should be CN's priority. However, I would assume that the ATVers would just divert around the gates---perhaps by cutting old rusty fencing---so gates might not help much.

    Now having said that, CATCHING the offenders would stop them, since they could be charged with trespassing and possibly vandalism, and from what I understand from the neighbour, he's gonna start monitoring the area more frequently. Apparently, it's a small bunch of people, but the same ones who often bring "friends".

    When we first moved here, we had people gunning down our driveway at all hours, which we promptly put a stop to by adding a gate. After catching someone totally ignoring the "NO TRESPASSING" sign and actually going to far as to undo the chain on the gate (!), we added a lock. So now the bikers slip through an adjoining property and STILL apparently cut through ours to get on the private trail.

    A friend of mine says try barbed wire that is marked well and also lots of signs. Yeah, and I think they will just ignore them. Another says fell some large trees across the trail points. So I'm thinking, lots of fencing, signs, maybe some "barriers" at points of entry onto my property and hanging out there more to catch the offenders and make it clear that a second capture will result in fines.

    I've also considered contacting CrimeStoppers, since there is nothing more appealing about turning someone in for a crime than being paid cash. I'm sure there's a few people that would turn in their own mom for a couple hundred bucks, and in this case, vandalism has occurred, so it's about more than trespassing now. No doubt there's quite a few that can use some cash and just happens to know the guilty parties.

    I may also contact the township to see if they have any ideas for a solution.

    I really didn't worry about this issue much before as I believe in live and let live, but 20 ATVers? Come on, that's a little much, it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt, so I must do something to show that I am not approving of trespass. The property owner on the other side also agrees. I'm thinking maybe another talk with the first neighbour is in order, to see if he has spoken to any other property owners. Maybe it we all got together and cut off the entry and exit routes.......

    I need your advice ASAP, but please, keep it to sensible remedies......NOT blowing people away with shotguns, cutting their legs off with bear traps, laying down spike belts, etc. I want PRACTICAL advice, I don't want to injure or kill anyone. Thanks so much! :)

    DD
     
  2. jill.costello

    jill.costello Well-Known Member

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    I agree with adding several large logs to the trail (esp in areas that it would be near impossible to get around them), but my thoughts are running along the lines of very visible signs; something very simple yet to the point, in addition to the standard "posted: no tresspassing" sign.

    I imagine these ATV-ers are age 14-44, and a bit on the wild side. I guess if it were me, I'd appeal to them in a way they *might* understand:

    " DEAR RIDERS: Because of excessive use of this trail system, it is now too dangerously rutted for my daughters and myself to safely ride, so we are closing this trail. Anyone who wants to help groom the trail so that it *might* be ready for next Saturday's ride should just call me or stop by the house to grab a shovel and a map of the sections that are in dire need of attention. Thanks, Jill 000-000-0000"

    The MINUTE someone actually came to the house, I would tell them to spread the word that this is PRIVATE property, etc, etc, (piece of my mind roar! :hobbyhors )
     

  3. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    How about a trail cam? If you get pics with registration numbers the sheriff's department can pay the owners a visit to remind them that they're trespassing.
     
  4. RockyGlen

    RockyGlen Well-Known Member

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    I would post very large signs explaining that it is the training ground for my new business.....attack Dobermans....and they run loose, so enter at your own risk
     
  5. palani

    palani Well-Known Member

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    If it is woodlands and it is a footpath why not drop 15 - 20 trees across the trail at intervals. It is still possible to travel by foot, just difficult by snowmobile or atv.

    It is possible the problem will disappear once gas reaches $6 per gallon.
     
  6. OkieDavid

    OkieDavid Well-Known Member Supporter

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    One EASY solution....Contact your local Game Warden (DNR, Wildlife Official, whatever) have them come out and see the problem. Once they arrive, give them permission to hunt/fish on your property. Trust me.....they will keep everyone else out and all it will cost you is a couple of deer/turkey per year.

    David
     
  7. neolady

    neolady Well-Known Member

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    If I correctly recall Ontario law, I believe that the area must be posted every *** number of feet (could be 200) with no trespassing signs. It's almost 2 decades since I lived there, but I do recall that it was very difficult to have charges laid because of the actual trespass law itself. All it took was for one sign to be missing (which the trespassers would usually have removed anyway). The letter of the law for no trespassing must be met before anything charges could be contemplated. Call your local municipal bylaw office first and talk to them. You are a local taxpayer, make them earn some of your tax dollars.

    You need some help from local law enforcement (perhaps the OPP) or regional police. Another source for assistance could be Lands and Forests as well.

    You need to realize the legal implications of ANY move that YOU make to obstruct the ATVs or snowmobiles. Chains, cables, wires, etc. could leave you very wide open to a lawsuit that your insurer will have to defend. Caselaw across the country has ruled in favour the trespassers in most cases when damages have been caused by obstruction or obstruction on the trespass lands. That's certainly not fair, but it is the judicial system right across both the U.S. and Canada. Canadian law leaves less room for protection of an individual's life and property than the U.S. system does.

    I certainly understand your frustration, and I know I would be desperate to stop this kind of behaviour. I only have a small acreage, which is fully fenced. I'm posted with no trespassing signs and guard dog on duty. I was running up to 5 neapolitan mastiffs and a rottie on the property and my theft and trespass problems stopped. Your acreage is too large and too concealed for a fence to work. Fencing pliers are just too handy a tool unless you can view the fenceline.

    I think if they are footpaths, I would be looking at creating massive tire damage - those ATV tires are expensive and it could be a long haul to drag them out sans tires.
     
  8. RosewoodfarmVA

    RosewoodfarmVA Well-Known Member

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    If neither you or the other owner use the trail, just buy a 50 pound box of roofing nails and scatter them all over the trail. Place some no tresspassing signs and then enjoy the show as they try to get their flat tired vehicles out of the mud! Gates won't work, they will just go around. If they disregard signs, more signs won't help.
     
  9. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well since you've already eliminated the heads on pikes.... Large trees, rock piles, loose leaf piles, whatever obstacles you can put on the trail. And call the sheriff and game wardens.
     
  10. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    You didn't even know the trail was rutted until your neighbour told you. So why exactly do you care?

    Don't cry with the liability line. It's not near as bad in Canada as in the US, and if they are using your land without your position, you really have nothing to worry about. Trying to stop them with dangerous blockades is far more likely to cause a lawsuit should someone get hurt.

    Pete
     
  11. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    All Terrain Vandals are a problem virtually everywhere they are sold. It just seems to attract the me-first aggressive types.

    You could try to contact the local ATV club for help but they'll likely want to turn your trail into "their" trail in exchange for help. Even if you catch the riders it's unlikely you'll get much more than "we ain't hurt'n nutt'n" and the finger. In our state (home of 2 ATV makers) we are forbidden by law from preventing them from destroying our driveway approaches.

    I think you need to make it in their interest to stop because how it affects you is not a concern to many (most) riders. One way to do that is to lay down some barbed wire on the trail. The tires pick up the wire and wrap it around the axle stopping the rotation of the tire. Another option is the trail camera but then you need to find someone to take it seriously enough to prosecute. You might also try taking the perp to court for damage repair. If successful, word would spread and make some riders think twice. Be aware that it may bring retaliation like nails in your driveway or worse.

    Last summer I put some logs in the ruts crossing my driveway to get riders to move over and make new ruts. After returning home from a 7 hour drive I turned to enter my driveway and it was almost completely hidden in dust. A rider was busy trying to dig ruts in my driveway with his front brake locked and his back wheels turning. When he saw me he sped off. I followed him in my car so I could find out where he lived in case he came back to vandalize my property. He gave me the finger and waved me over. I drove over and he ran up stabbing his finger in my face and screaming obsenities. He even ordered me out of the car. When his wife roared up on her machine and came running over with her shoulders back like she was ready to join in I left. They did that in plain sight of their little daughter who was illegally riding on one of the machines. It's a family sport according to some riders.

    Here are 2 websites I put together showing what they are doing in our forests and how our state and county are looking the other way.

    http://www.crowwingcountymn.org

    http://www.angelfire.com/mn3/dnrdocuments/HayCreek.html
     
  12. The Paw

    The Paw Well-Known Member

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    We have been trying to deal with this problem as part of a volunteer committee affiliated with the Trans-Canada trail. It is not an easy solution.

    Usually, the best you can manage is to make it inconvenient enough that they follow the path of least resistance in another direction. That kind of pushes it off on neighbours, but surveillance and prosecution seems like pretty slim odds.

    In places where our trail is ecologically sensitive or where there are limited entry points, we have put post-and-chain fencing in. 4-5 inch fence posts, hole drilled in the middle and heavy chain fed through. You have to have the chain fairly taut, or the will use the slack to wiggle under. You end up having to replace a post every so often, and with the second replacement we seat it in concrete. You also have to sign it and flag it so they can see it clearly.

    If you persist, eventually they find other places to go, you just have to outwork them. Although they will vandalize these arrangements, they eventually give up because they are essentially lazy (why else would they ride ATVs?). It may not be fair, but that seems to be the reality.
     
  13. edcopp

    edcopp Well-Known Member

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    You will get whatever you are willing to put up with. :cool:
     
  14. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    start planting hawthorn trees and place the thorny limbs all over the trail. that stuff is nasty.
     
  15. neolady

    neolady Well-Known Member

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    (1) It's his property which is enough of a reason to care.

    (2) Wrong. The liability is increasingly bad throughout Canada, and you just can't close your eyes to the trespass and walk away scot free.

    (3) And yes, it is a guaranteed lawsuit if someone gets hurt. The fact alone that this has been posted on a public message board is enough to guarantee that this individual can't deny the fact that this was happening.
     
  16. suitcase_sally

    suitcase_sally Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We had the same problem when we first got our property, but DH is very intimidating. After we caught some guys going OVER our fence DH tackled one guy and peeled him off the vehicle. He told him that if he caught him on our property again, he'd have to tow the vehicle out of the woods. He told them to spread the word. Haven't had a problem in 9 years.
     
  17. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    Lets make it worth your time to fix it.Go see a lawyer and tell him your situation. Tell him you want to start a ATV riders club. You are thinking about a lifetime membership for about $10,000 With no riding allowed till you have sold 10 memberships and constructed trail.
    Now if you can catch someone they have commited an offence with a value so ifyou cachthem you should be able to recover some bucks that not only helps you imakes them think about things.
    Next invest in a very good security camera system you want goods clear usable pictures.....happy hunting!!
     
  18. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    The reason the trails are badly rutted is because it's spring and the ground is soft. In these conditions, ATV rut trails badly. You are exaggerating with the two and three feet measurements, but I get your point.

    What you may NOT realize is this. As the ground hardens, the ATVs will ride on the high (dry) points of the trail, pushing them down and filling in the ruts. Short of using heavy equipment, letting the ATVs continued access to the trail is almost undoubtedly the quickest and easiest way to level your trail.

    If you are serious about blocking them off, doing so in the early fall (before the ground gets soft again) would likely be in your best interest.

    That said, the ONLY way to stop ATVs is with a permanent, well maintained fence of some kind, likely surrounding your property on at least three sides. ATVers typically will pass through, and as such will not enter an area they have to turn around to get out of. ATVs are a fact of country life. I enjoy ridding dirt bikes, and travel on trails that may or may not cross private property. Many of these trails go almost a hundred miles. If you think you will be able to block a trail like that, give up now.

    At one point the trails cross a large sod field. The sod farmers actually marked a path across the field with small flags, and EVERYONE stayed between the flags.

    Personally, I suggest you buy and ATV and start riding with the fellows. You might gain new insight, find a new source of fun and even make some new friends.

    Pete
     
  19. Shygal

    Shygal Unreality star Supporter

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    Spoken like an ATV riding tresspasser :rolleyes:

    They dont want these people on their land. You are suggesting that hey, they are breaking the law but why fight it, just let them. If someone came and camped out in your barn, would that be ok? Or walked into your house uninvited , made themselves a snack and watched TV? Its the same thing.
     
  20. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely ridiculous! I'd let my brother walk into my house and fix a snack, I'd let a couple backpacking strangers sleep in my hay loft for a night, and I'd let a bunch of people I never even met buzz across the back of my property, completely out of sight and sound from my house.

    I wouldn't let a wild deer sit and watch TV with me, but I couldn't care less if it crapped in the corner of my woods.

    Get real!

    Pete