Robertson Publishes Public Access to Private Land for Walking: Environmental and Individual Responsibility as Rationale for Limiting the Right to Exclude

Associate Dean and Professor Heidi Gorovitz Robertson

In her recently published article, Public Access to Private Land for Walking: Environmental and Individual Responsibility as Rationale for Limiting the Right to Exclude, Professor and Associate Dean Heidi Gorovitz Robertson argues that societies that value environmental and individual responsibility can support expanded public rights of access  to privately owned land for recreation.  Robertson explores public rights of access for responsible recreation in Britain, Scandinavia, and Continental Europe, and finds that countries with more expansive rights of access also present a strong system of support for personal and environmental responsibility.  Usually this means that there is a deeply held culture of respect for the environment and respect for the rights of others.  If there is not a strong cultural respect for privacy and protection of the land, the underlying support for an expanded right of access may come in the form of rules or regulations that protect the environment and the privacy of the land owner.  Regardless whether the protection of the land owner’s land and privacy comes through culture or rule, it must be present to support a system of public access to privately owned land.

This article appears in the Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, at 23 Geo. Int’l Envtl. L. Rev. 211 (2011) and can be accessed via SSRN at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1874046

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