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  #1  
Old 07-23-2008, 09:09 PM
An Gadaí An Gadaí is offline
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Squatting in the US/Canada?

If you built a house in a remote part of Canada or USA could you do so without anyone noticing? IE could you squat on government or private land in the middle of nowhere for any significant amount of time?
I'm not too concerned with the feasibility of building the house just curious about how soon or if you'd ever be detected.
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  #2  
Old 07-23-2008, 09:23 PM
Bearflag70 Bearflag70 is offline
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My FIL owns a useless chunk of land covered in ash on the side of Mt. Shasta. He goes up there about every 3 years just to look around. In the interim, he has no clue who might be there.

I imagine there are deserts and other remote locations where you could go undetected for much longer than that.

Last edited by Bearflag70; 07-23-2008 at 09:25 PM..
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:23 PM
smiling bandit smiling bandit is offline
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Define "remote." Some land is still available for posession upon homesteading IIRC.
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:33 PM
An Gadaí An Gadaí is offline
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I didn't know there was still land available to homestead.
I meant remote as in not too near major roads or roads with significant traffic. Maybe even in an area without passable lanes.
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  #5  
Old 07-23-2008, 09:44 PM
OtakuLoki OtakuLoki is online now
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There is the doctrine of "Adverse Possession." I'm not sure how it works exactly, but the short version I understand is that if one can show that they have lived on a property for ten years, they can petition to take it from the nominal landlord.

There's actually an adverse possession case locally on the site of one of the Ginna nuclear plant that's been recently decided against the petitioner. (Which is how I came to learn of the doctrine.)
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Old 07-23-2008, 09:45 PM
Bill Door Bill Door is offline
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This goes back to the early 1970s, but someone I know went from the US into British Columbia in Canada to homestead. It was legal at that time. It turns out it was a lot more difficult to be a subsistence farmer than Mother Earth News made it appear, and he ended up trying to get a job in Canada. He lacked the proper documents for working as an alien and was deported back to the US. Crossing the border into Alaska the customs agents found the one crop he had been successful in raising, and they confiscated his Jeep and all its contents. Damn hippies.
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:20 PM
Full Metal Lotus Full Metal Lotus is offline
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I am by no means an expert on this but a friend of mine in British Columbia (Canada) has placed mining claims for a laughably small amount (under $50) on certain streams and areas. He does use them for placer mining, but his actual motivation is to have and use land for a rediculously long time (the leases can be up to 99 yrs). There are restrictions on what can be done (no "Permanent"structures (ie on a foundation), and he must respect environmental considerations.

Regards
FML
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  #8  
Old 07-23-2008, 10:38 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OtakuLoki
There is the doctrine of "Adverse Possession." I'm not sure how it works exactly, but the short version I understand is that if one can show that they have lived on a property for ten years, they can petition to take it from the nominal landlord.

There's actually an adverse possession case locally on the site of one of the Ginna nuclear plant that's been recently decided against the petitioner. (Which is how I came to learn of the doctrine.)
Just staying on the property isn't enough - the common law doctrine is that your occupancy must be
1) Open & Notorious (such that it would be visible to reasonably observant owner)
2) Hostile to the Owner's interest
3) Exclusive (you're not there with the owner)
4) continuous (you live there full time for the statutory period, or to the fullest extent that is typical use of that land)

Some places, like NYC make it harder to achieve Adverse Possession, but that is the basic set of rules.
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Old 07-23-2008, 11:14 PM
Bearflag70 Bearflag70 is offline
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Originally Posted by Hello Again
Just staying on the property isn't enough - the common law doctrine is that your occupancy must be
1) Open & Notorious (such that it would be visible to reasonably observant owner)
2) Hostile to the Owner's interest
3) Exclusive (you're not there with the owner)
4) continuous (you live there full time for the statutory period, or to the fullest extent that is typical use of that land)

Some places, like NYC make it harder to achieve Adverse Possession, but that is the basic set of rules.
"Hostile" includes "without permission."

California also requires the potential adverse possessor to pay all property taxes during the period of possession, and the applicable period is 5 years.

Last edited by Bearflag70; 07-23-2008 at 11:15 PM..
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  #10  
Old 07-23-2008, 11:37 PM
Duckster Duckster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smiling bandit
Define "remote." Some land is still available for posession upon homesteading IIRC.
Quote:
The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 ended homesteading; the government believed that the best use of public homes was for them to remain in government control. The only exception to this new policy was in Alaska, for which the law allowed homesteading until 1986.

The last claim under the Homestead Act was made by Kenneth Deardorff for 80 acres (32 hectares) of land on the Stony River in southwestern Alaska. He fulfilled all requirements of the Homestead Act in 1979, but he did not actually receive his deed until May 1988. Therefore, he is the last person to receive the title to land claimed under the provisions of the Homestead Act.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homestead_Act
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  #11  
Old 07-24-2008, 09:03 AM
wolfstu wolfstu is online now
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In my home region (northern Ontario, Canada), you can certainly go out into the middle of the boreal forest and just hang out. In fact, you could probably do it within a short walk of a highway and not be noticed. There are cities separated by hundreds of kilometres and joined only by a two-lane highway and/or railroad. Along much of the length of the road, you can walk a hundred metres out into the forest and be more or less lost to society.

As I recall, squatting on 'crown land' -- land owned by nobody, or the queen, I guess -- is allowed for up to about 22 days in Ontario. From the Government of Ontario:
Quote:
Preservation of "Title Integrity"

This land management role has two important components. First, the Ministry of Natural Resources must maintain careful records about who has rights to use or occupy Crown land. Currently the ministry uses an automated Land Index System to track over 670,000 title and survey records. Second, when individuals illegally "squat" on Crown land, ministry staff take enforcement action to resolve those situations before public ownership of the land is jeopardized.
With a little searching, I found the list of crown land management directives, and the specific directive (PDF file) that addresses this issue. It says:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources free use policy for Crown land
3.4.3 Recreational Camping on Public Land
Subject to section 3.4.5 "Exceptions to Free Use", the provisions of Ontario Regulation 326/94, Crown Land Camping Permit and the following requirements, any person may camp and/or leave camping equipment for recreational purposes on any public lands in Ontario without the requirement for land use occupational authority, permission, or the payment of a fee,:
- an individual site may only be occupied for a maximum of 21 days in a calendar year
- the person and the camping unit must move a minimum of 100 metres to a new site after 21 days
- unless otherwise posted.
So, yeah. In Ontario, unless specifically restricted, you can take up residence for 21 days. You can obtain 'occupational authority' for a longer period, it would seem -- the forms of this are listed on page one of the linked document.
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  #12  
Old 07-24-2008, 09:33 AM
lobotomyboy63 lobotomyboy63 is offline
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It probably is harder to go undetected than in the past---in the U.S. at least. Population growth aside, IIRC the preferred method of growing weed is to do so on a vast public preserve, so the govt can't seize personal land and assets. I've seen on TV where officials hide cameras and wait to see who comes out for cultivation and harvest, however. Then they wait and catch them individually, in town, where they aren't an armed group.
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  #13  
Old 07-24-2008, 11:17 AM
GingerOfTheNorth GingerOfTheNorth is offline
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My sister and her husband live on an island that is Crown land, in the NWT in Canada. As far as I know, it was originally a squatter's shack on the island, and they built an actual house there. They do not pay property taxes. I guess you could call them squatters.

They've been on that same piece of land for ten years and nobody's bothered them about it.

Last edited by GingerOfTheNorth; 07-24-2008 at 11:18 AM..
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  #14  
Old 07-24-2008, 12:38 PM
smiling bandit smiling bandit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckster
I was unaware the federeal law had run out entirely, but I vaguely recall some states which alloewd it because they had esentially worthless wasteland no one wanted. It was almost free for the taking or somesuch.
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  #15  
Old 07-24-2008, 01:13 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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There is some seriously remote land in many parts of the U.S. and, especially northern Canada and Alaska. Even Maine, on the East Coast, has some land you could build on without anyone noticing. There are something like 6000 islands off the coast of Maine and while some of them are inhabited, most are not. You could build a house on some of them without anyone noticing although bringing in the supplies on a small boat might be hard unless it is just a simple cabin. Even if people saw it, I have no idea why they would think something is wrong. The desert southwest would be easy to build something in the middle of it but I have no idea how you would survive there without exotic transportation like a small plane and that is still a problem in lots of ways.

People in Alaska build remote cabins like crazy but they aren't meant to be permanent shelter but I guess they could be for a die-hard types. If you had a ton of money you could have Bush pilots deliver supplies. It seems like every other person in Alaska has a pilot's license because that is the only way to travel around the state fully. Alaska is underpopulated and it is over twice the size of Texas. Open land is extremely vast so no one is going to care with a small cabin. Pilots need those types of cabins to store fuel, food, and supplies when they have to land for whatever reason. It would be like a frigid version of Gilligan's island except people like the Mosquito rock band is less likely to just show up.
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Old 07-24-2008, 01:53 PM
Duckster Duckster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smiling bandit
I was unaware the federeal law had run out entirely, but I vaguely recall some states which alloewd it because they had esentially worthless wasteland no one wanted.
In the American West, we call those lands national parks, national forests and other federal lands, because at the time they had no economic, exploitive benefit for business.

Times have changed.
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  #17  
Old 07-24-2008, 02:11 PM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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Gradual elimination of Squatter's rights in Ontario:

Ontario uses both the older land registry system, under which squatter's rights (adverse occupation / adverse possession) exist, and the newer land titles system, under which title is absolute such that squatter's rights do not exist. Land Titles Act s.51.

Ontario counties/districts are gradually converting all their property registrations into electronic form. When something is registered in electronic form concerning a property (e.g. electronic registration of a title transfer or a mortgage), the property is administratively brought over into the land titles system. Beyond this, Ontario counties/districts are gradually converting their existing registrations into electronic form, including bringing the existing registrations into the land titles system. This means that in the next few years all property in Ontario will be under the land titles system. Squatter's rights in Ontario will soon be a thing of the past.



Private land in Ontario not registered under the land titles system:

In Ontario, for privately owned land not registered under the land titles system, squatter's rights kick in after ten years. Land Titles Act, s. 4.



Crown (gubm'nt) land in Ontario not registered under the land titles system:

In Ontario, squatter's rights do not apply to Crown land that is vacant, waste, or road allowance. In other words, you can never claim squatter's rights for that camp you have on Crown land up on Trout Lake. Land Titles Act s.16.

If, however, the land is owned by the Crown but is developed and is not registered in the land titles system, then squatter's rights kick in after 60 years. Land Titles Act, s.3.



Tests for adverse occupation/ adverse possession / squatter's rights in Ontario:

In Canada, the test for squatter's rights is:
1. Had actual possession;
2. Had the intention of excluding the true owner from possession; and
3. Effectively excluded the true owner from possession.
Madison Investments Ltd. v. Ham (1984), 45 O.R. (2d) 563 (Ont. C.A.); leave to appeal refused (26 July 1984), S.C.C. No. 18799.

However, in Ontario, adverse possession is not a mechanism whereby someone can convert to his or her own use property belonging to his or her neighbour through fraudulent, wilful and represensible conduct. Lehal v. Murray, [2001] O.J. No 4861 Ont. Sup. Ct.; affirmed [2002] O.J. No 4443 Ont. C.A.

As set out above, property registered under the land titles system is not subject to squatter's rights. Land Titles Act s.51.

Last edited by Muffin; 07-24-2008 at 02:14 PM..
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Old 07-24-2008, 02:23 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Interesting thread. Many years ago, my uncle bought a parcel of land, in Sandwich, MA. It was a lot which was adjacent to a small tidal river, probably it was used as a woodlot. At any rate, there was an old squatter’s cabin on the land-whoever had lived in it had kept the cabin quite tidy-it contained a single bed, and basic kitchen, with a hand operated water pump. As I recall, there was still useful stuff inside-I remember seeing a cast iron skillet, and a few very old cans of beans. According to the man who sold my uncle the land, the cabin had been lived in up until the early 1950’s. I always wondered about who had lived there and why. As others have said, you could probably build a shack in a remote area, and never be bothered by anyone. The problem is, unless you are a confirmed hermit, it is probably a very lonely life. I have hiked in remote forested areas of New England, and frequently you will come across an old cellar hole in the woods-it is kind of sad to see a place where people once lived, and now abandoned.
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Old 07-24-2008, 02:34 PM
Tristan Tristan is offline
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North Dakota, Kansas, and I believe one or two other states were running a "homesteading" type deal in certain towns. Usually small towns, with a collapsing economy.



Then you would be granted the deed to this acreage you had built your house on. If not, you became liable for a bill.

links:
http://www.atwoodkansas.com/free.html

http://www.prairieopportunity.com/
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  #20  
Old 07-24-2008, 02:41 PM
cmkeller cmkeller is offline
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GingeroftheNorth:

Quote:
They've been on that same piece of land for ten years and nobody's bothered them about it.
Well, now you've done it...here come the Mounties and back-tax collectors!
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:46 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by An Gadaí
If you built a house in a remote part of Canada or USA could you do so without anyone noticing? IE could you squat on government or private land in the middle of nowhere for any significant amount of time?
I'm not too concerned with the feasibility of building the house just curious about how soon or if you'd ever be detected.
A lot of the the answers have concerned the LEGALITIES, but you don't seme to be asking about that so much as the PRACTICALITIES.

The simple fact is that there are millions of square kilometres in Canada where you could live and probably never be found again as long as you lived. The vastness of Canada's boreal forest is inconceivable. You wouldn't even have to go that far north; there are places in Northern Ontario where you could put up a cabin next to a little lake and no one would ever know where you were. That isn't that far north; if you set up a place somewhere near Ghost Lake you will be at a more southern latitude than any part of Scotland.

If you were sufficiently enterprising, and smart enopugh to make sure you didn't build your cabin near a fishing encampment or near a mine, the legalities would simply not matter.
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:06 PM
An Gadaí An Gadaí is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
A lot of the the answers have concerned the LEGALITIES, but you don't seme to be asking about that so much as the PRACTICALITIES.

The simple fact is that there are millions of square kilometres in Canada where you could live and probably never be found again as long as you lived. The vastness of Canada's boreal forest is inconceivable. You wouldn't even have to go that far north; there are places in Northern Ontario where you could put up a cabin next to a little lake and no one would ever know where you were. That isn't that far north; if you set up a place somewhere near Ghost Lake you will be at a more southern latitude than any part of Scotland.

If you were sufficiently enterprising, and smart enopugh to make sure you didn't build your cabin near a fishing encampment or near a mine, the legalities would simply not matter.
Being from a small island I find this fascinating. Does anyone know the estimated prevalence of this sort of set up? Are there hundreds or thousands of illegal cabins in rural Canada?
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:20 PM
GingerOfTheNorth GingerOfTheNorth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmkeller
GingeroftheNorth:



Well, now you've done it...here come the Mounties and back-tax collectors!
Well, ya know, there's hundreds of lakes up around that area... I think they're safe.
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Old 07-24-2008, 10:38 PM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by An Gadaí
Being from a small island I find this fascinating. Does anyone know the estimated prevalence of this sort of set up? Are there hundreds or thousands of illegal cabins in rural Canada?
In northern Ontario there are illegal cabins, but they are few and literally far between.

1. There are very few people up here relative to the size of the place.

2. There are ample opportunities to have legal cabins.

3. Most folks prefer to have road access (usually up logging roads), so it is easy to move in a trailer and move it about every 21 days.

4. Illegal cabins up logging roads get reported.


That being said, there are also some illegal cabins to which the Ministry of Natural Resources turns a blind eye. For example, there are quite a few saunas on the islands along the north shore of Superior. Some are on private land with the consent of the owners, sometimes with and sometimes without a building permit. Some are on private land where it is doubtful if the absentee owners even know of the saunas. Some are on public land but errected quasi-legally as being incidental to a mining claim. Some are on public land with no excuse other than being unsanctioned "emergency shelters". All I can say is that after a hard day paddling or sailing on a lake that is only somewhat above freezing even in the middle of summer, one tremendously enjoys these saunas. Here is a sampling of them: http://www.skoac.org/ARTICLES/sauna_info.shtml
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Old 07-25-2008, 01:20 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Add me to the people that think it wouldn't be all that hard to live underneath the radar in, well, about three-quarters of Canada. What quality of life you'd have, I don't know, but if you just packed up and pitched a tent somewhere in northern Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, BC, or the Territories, you'd be away from people in no time. I don't know if there would be much benefit to squatting over buying a remote parcel of land; I can't imagine it would cost much to buy remote land.
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Old 07-25-2008, 08:24 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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I have some interesting books like "Hide All Your Assets and Disappear" and one that isn't in front of me but it it called something like "Privacy: How to Get it and How Keep It". My family gives them to me and I have never figured out what they are trying to tell me.

I was just studying a map of the U.S. and all states have rural areas. Even New Jersey has the Pine Barrens and farms in the southern parts of the states. Most states have remote areas where the chances are good that that you would not be contacted often and people wouldn't know why you are there if they do find you.

The most populous states are California, Texas, and New York state. Each of those have remote areas where you could live for a long time without anyone noticing. They harder states are on the east coast but a full sized Lear Jet crashed in a rural but not truly remote in New Hampshire in 1996 and it was only found 3 years later by chance and that was after an intensive search by hundreds of people. New Hampshire has a northern region that is way more remote than that and it probably would have been decades to be found if it crashed there if ever.

Steve Fosset, aviation record setter, crashed somewhere in the southwest and no amount of effort could find them ever though they found wreckage from planes back as far as the WWII era.

I am not sure if the OP is truly interested in squatting or just living in isolation. You can certainly do both but a small piece of land in the middle of nowhere in a truly remote area is going to be cheap and you can still exploit the land around you because nobody is going to show up there anyway.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 07-25-2008 at 08:29 PM..
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Old 07-25-2008, 09:33 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by An Gadaí
Being from a small island I find this fascinating. Does anyone know the estimated prevalence of this sort of set up? Are there hundreds or thousands of illegal cabins in rural Canada?
The trouble with going out to live in a cabin in the woods, is how do you keep yourself fed? What happens when you're chopping wood and your axe slips and you whack yourself on the foot? What happens when you're tracking down a moose you shot, and you fall into a pond and get yourself out, but now you're soaking wet and the temperature is 35F and falling?

"Living off the land" is difficult. And if you're anywhere near a road you could run into rangers enforcing hunting laws. Shoot a moose without tags and you could be in a lot bigger trouble than the squatting itself.

If you go into town occasionally to bring back supplies, how do you transport those supplies? And where do you get the money to buy supplies, since you don't have a job?
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Old 07-25-2008, 10:38 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866
The trouble with going out to live in a cabin in the woods, is how do you keep yourself fed? What happens when you're chopping wood and your axe slips and you whack yourself on the foot? What happens when you're tracking down a moose you shot, and you fall into a pond and get yourself out, but now you're soaking wet and the temperature is 35F and falling?

"Living off the land" is difficult. And if you're anywhere near a road you could run into rangers enforcing hunting laws. Shoot a moose without tags and you could be in a lot bigger trouble than the squatting itself.

If you go into town occasionally to bring back supplies, how do you transport those supplies? And where do you get the money to buy supplies, since you don't have a job?
Those are certainly legitimate questions. I have pondered them myself many times. I have a subscription to the Mother Earth News although I am certainly not hippy/trippy. They have articles in most of their issues about people that not only live off the grid but decide to build all kinds of things in remote areas. IIRC, there was on older guy that just went out and built this not small house by hand because he decided that "being surrounded by all that electricity made him nervous". It looked like a cool house but nothing like you would ever see elsewhere. He hand dug a root cellar by hand and chops wood by hand to heat it even though he lives in Wisconsin and seems to be about 60 years old. It takes all kinds and some people do it.

My wife's cousin lived in a commune but got married two years ago. She and her husband wanted to live alone after that so they hand-built a cabin on a small mountain in Kentucky and wanted money to buy a wood-fired heating system as wedding gifts. They are still living the life and are very isolated. I think she sells minor art fairs and things but they certainly don't need much money. I guess it can be done at least for a while.
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:23 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866
The trouble with going out to live in a cabin in the woods, is how do you keep yourself fed? What happens when you're chopping wood and your axe slips and you whack yourself on the foot? What happens when you're tracking down a moose you shot, and you fall into a pond and get yourself out, but now you're soaking wet and the temperature is 35F and falling?
Well, you'd die.

I mean, that's the whole reason people usually DON'T do this.

Northern Canada is empty. I mean, empty; it's empty to a degree that you cannot comprehend if you have not been to a place like that, and frankly it's hard to comprehend even when you have. IF you drive from Toronto and go as far north in the Province of Ontario as it is possible to drive without using a dirt resource road, you are STILL about four hundred miles south of the northernmost part of Ontario. And you haven't even gone halfway up Canada yet. If you can somehow find a way to get your building and survival supplies to my theoretical spot somewhere near Ghost Lake (which is about in the middle of Ontario's emptiness) you will be two hundred miles from any road or navigable water.

One of the posters in this thread is from Ireland. Ireland is a big island - I wouldn't want to walk across it - but northern Ontario, north of highway 599, is an expanse of boreal forest that is about eight times larger than Ireland, almost all of it uninhabited by humans. The terrain is brutally unforgiving; you are basically living on a giant rock covered in conifers, and your neighbours are all bears, and the winters are staggeringly brutal. For all the good any hope of rescue will do you, you are not much better off than being on Mars. With bears.

You can't go into town for supplies. There ARE no towns if you're really living in nowhere. There are no reliable roads north of Pickle Lake anyway.

So be careful. Bring penicillin. Because when I say you're gonna be alone, you're gonna be alone. But you absolutely could do it. If you had the resources, the means to construct a building up there, you're gone forever.

If you wanted to really go nuts and hide somewhere in the Territories, you would have available to you an area the size of Western Europe occupied by about as many people as live in the City of Limerick.
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Old 07-26-2008, 12:06 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
Well, you'd die.

I mean, that's the whole reason people usually DON'T do this.

Northern Canada is empty. I mean, empty; it's empty to a degree that you cannot comprehend if you have not been to a place like that, and frankly it's hard to comprehend even when you have. IF you drive from Toronto and go as far north in the Province of Ontario as it is possible to drive without using a dirt resource road, you are STILL about four hundred miles south of the northernmost part of Ontario. And you haven't even gone halfway up Canada yet. If you can somehow find a way to get your building and survival supplies to my theoretical spot somewhere near Ghost Lake (which is about in the middle of Ontario's emptiness) you will be two hundred miles from any road or navigable water.
100% of what you say has to be true. However, I have a book called Flying the Alaska Wild which I flip through all the time because it is on the passenger seat of my car. It is a kind of adventure accounts of a good pilot that was a bush pilot in Alaska for decades and had to undergo similar circumstances for his entire career.

I am not saying this is practical at all but he had all kinds of tricks to make things work. The following requires quite a bit of money but you can potentially fit things together. You obviously can't have a car in Northern Canada but you could have a short take-off and landing plane. You would need a primitive runway that is at least 300+ feet long and great skill as a pilot. The pilot in the book had a Piper Super Cub which is about as simple a plane that you can find and mostly field repairable and can be fitted with tundra tires, water floats, or skis.

The runway can be constructed with a chainsaw but it would take a long while but the wood could be used for heating. You could hook up am outlet to the plane to power a satellite phone in case you need help. Water should not be a problem especially with the snow. You would have to fly somewhere for food and everything else.

I know that this isn't practical and would require a great deal of money and work but I like to brainstorm about how you could possibly make such a thing work. It could be a personal Mars mission if you just wanted to vanish without committing suicide. People do roughly the same thing successfully in Alaska.
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  #31  
Old 07-26-2008, 08:24 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty
I am not saying this is practical at all but he had all kinds of tricks to make things work. The following requires quite a bit of money but you can potentially fit things together.
Ah, that's the kicker. IF you had the money, anything is possible - you could build a kick ass 4-bedroom cabin with its own water filtration system, power generation, and stock it will all the supplies you'd need, and get yourself a chopper or a float plane. Fresh fruits and vegetables might be hard come by but you can live on canned stuff. The most cursory of camouflage techniques will hide your abode from casual observation. You could live like a king.

With the financial means, it's quite possible.

Last edited by RickJay; 07-26-2008 at 08:25 AM..
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  #32  
Old 07-26-2008, 10:02 AM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty
You obviously can't have a car in Northern Canada but you could have a short take-off and landing plane. You would need a primitive runway that is at least 300+ feet long and great skill as a pilot. The pilot in the book had a Piper Super Cub which is about as simple a plane that you can find and mostly field repairable and can be fitted with tundra tires, water floats, or skis.
In northwestern Ontario, commercially operated float planes are commonly used to get about for fishing. Less common are float planes that are privately operated, however, enough people have them that they are not unusual. (For example, the real estate clerk upstairs has one and one of my clients has one -- both simply because they like to go fishing.)

The nice thing about float planes is that you do not require a runway -- just a very small lake with no rocks at waterlevel. One of the things we have a lot of up here is lakes -- as the song goes: rocks and trees and water.

Usually the folks who fly in and out of remote lakes go for the day -- that way they can stay in the comfort of their own home or camp (we call cottages and cabins "camps") in the evenings. For folks who prefer to stay out overnight, they usually use tents -- large prospecting tents that you can walk around in, that have stoves, in which there are tables, chairs and cots, screen windows, screen doors, and sometimes wooden floors. (In fact, it was in one of these large tents that my maternal grandparents raised their children in the summers in New Brunswick.) When considering the balance of convenience between comfort and maintenance, large tents rather than solid cabins are the way to go for fairly short term stays.

The owners usually leave the tents set-up for two or three weeks at a time, with the owners flying in intermittently. Sometimes the fishermen overstay the authorized 21 day period by setting up their temporary fly-in camp for the entire summer, but they are rarely called on it by the authorities. Technically they are squatting, but because their encampment is physically temporary and seasonal in use, usually nothing is done.

Folks who want something more permanent than that go legal by simply getting a prospecting permit or a trapping permit, which permit them to erect small cabins without squatting. If they want something fancier, they go for a remote tourist camp permit.

All this begs the question as to why a person with the means to fly about would want to squat rather than simply purchase or lease.

Last edited by Muffin; 07-26-2008 at 10:04 AM..
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  #33  
Old 07-26-2008, 10:26 AM
Spoons Spoons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
Ah, that's the kicker. IF you had the money, anything is possible - you could build a kick ass 4-bedroom cabin with its own water filtration system, power generation, and stock it will all the supplies you'd need, and get yourself a chopper or a float plane.
Well, I don't know about water filtration and power generation, but the Castle on White Otter Lake is a pretty damn impressive achievement. Built by one man in the remote Ontario wilderness in the early part of the 20th century, it shows what is possible given enough time and determination.

As was stated upthread, folks from "small islands" often have trouble comprehending just how empty parts of Canada are. I well recall taking a train from Toronto to Edmonton some years ago, and a British tourist group was on the same train. Going through northern Ontario, which is nothing but rock, trees, and muskeg, stunned them--they simply had no concept of land that wasn't owned by anybody, lacked roads, wasn't developed, and was basically uninhabitable. Of course, given enough time, money, and determination, anything is possible (as the White Otter Castle demonstrates), but most people don't have that.
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  #34  
Old 07-26-2008, 10:44 AM
drachillix drachillix is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
Ah, that's the kicker. IF you had the money, anything is possible - you could build a kick ass 4-bedroom cabin with its own water filtration system, power generation, and stock it will all the supplies you'd need, and get yourself a chopper or a float plane. Fresh fruits and vegetables might be hard come by but you can live on canned stuff. The most cursory of camouflage techniques will hide your abode from casual observation. You could live like a king.

With the financial means, it's quite possible.
There have been several times in my life I have pondered doing a less extravagant variation of that somewhere along the east edge of CA. Pull a trailer full of building materials a mile or two off the beaten path, build a little 600-800 sq ft cottage of sorts. Could probably throw something very livable together for less than $20K. A couple hours drive into town once a month for mail. Assuming you have reliable paid off transportation.

my plan:
House 20K up front, inc a couple small photovoltaic arrays for power, couple hundred a year for repair materials.
Vehicle $1000 a year fuel, maintenance, and registration.
Bring Opal
Food $150-$200 a month supplemented with hunting.
Satellite internet $100/mo
$500/yr computer upgrades/repairs
heat provided by wood.
$100/mo incidentals

So basically about $600-$700 a month and you could probably live a pretty good simple little life. In my scenario, a little web design or remote support work would easily cover it.
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  #35  
Old 07-26-2008, 10:54 AM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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Originally Posted by RickJay
There are no reliable roads north of Pickle Lake anyway.
Actually, the road runs about 240km beyong Pickle Lake, all the way to Windigo Lake. As far as unreliable roads go, there is a network of ice roads in the winters that extend north of the all-seaason roads: http://www.mndm.gov.on.ca/mndm/norde.../default_e.asp. That's how many remote communities bring in their bulk supplies each year -- far less expensive than flying in goods.

As far as squatting goes, some aboriginal people in northwestern Ontario squat, but they do this on reserve land, which is not squatting as their bands hold the authority, and on traditional non-reserve land, which technically is squatting, but usually is not prosecuted. For example, there are three elder women near Pickle Lake who have spent their lives living in tents and to a significant degree living off the land (relatives bring them meat), technically squatting, but in fact living as their ancestors have lived for generations. No one in their right mind would try to interfere with them and their way of life, for they stand a role models for their community. Unfortunately, many northern communities have very significant social and economic problems (the Osnagburgh reserve just south of Pickle Lake isinformally known as Doghole) -- getting back to the land and traditional lifestyles is often seen as one way of addressing the problems). Yes, there are even some semi-permanent wigwam camps in Northern Ontario -- for example, I came across a conical wigwam hunting camp near the mouth of Kattawagami. (What the heck is a conical wigwam? Picture a teepee with bark rather than skin.)

Presently, there is a lot of dispute concerning traditional aboriginal non-reserve land in northern Ontario, so if an aboriginal person set up a hunting or fishing camp on traditional territory, the non-aboriginal authorities would think long and hard before doing anything about it, and for the most part take a hands-off approach, for traditional uses by aboriginal persons on traditional non-reserve land are permitted where they do not unduely conflict with other uses. It would be hard to make an argument that a traditional fishing camp in the middle of nowhere conflicts with anything.
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  #36  
Old 07-26-2008, 11:10 AM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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OT: For folks wondering "What the heck is Pickle Lake?", here is a short article I wrote concerning it: http://my.tbaytel.net/culpeper/PickleLakeLow.htm
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  #37  
Old 07-26-2008, 11:26 AM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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Originally Posted by Spoons
As was stated upthread, folks from "small islands" often have trouble comprehending just how empty parts of Canada are. I well recall taking a train from Toronto to Edmonton some years ago, and a British tourist group was on the same train. Going through northern Ontario, which is nothing but rock, trees, and muskeg, stunned them--they simply had no concept of land that wasn't owned by anybody, lacked roads, wasn't developed, and was basically uninhabitable.
I would encourage folks come from away to travel the north by canoe for extended periods. You gradually come to terms with both the immensity and the intimacy of the land. Here is an article I wrote concerning a canoe trip with a woman from Germany. The maps were "provisional" (meaning that they were made by an air survey only, and had never been revised), the river was off the beaten path, such that tradional aboriginal travel used a nearby river rather then the one we paddled, and there were only indications of approximately five groups previously passing through the middle section of our river (although now one or two groups go down it each year). Martina was in awe of just how much wilderness there is up here -- it was something that she had difficulty comprehending. Photos and article: http://my.tbaytel.net/culpeper/KattawagamiRiver.html
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  #38  
Old 07-26-2008, 12:47 PM
Muffin Muffin is offline
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To put it in perspective, An Gadaí, I live on a lake in Canada that shares a border with the USA. That lake is similar in size to all of Ireland, but is still very small when compared to the Canadian land mass north of here. Squatters? Pebbles on a beach.
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  #39  
Old 07-26-2008, 01:32 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffin
I would encourage folks come from away to travel the north by canoe for extended periods. You gradually come to terms with both the immensity and the intimacy of the land.
My father in law and his girlfiend went on a two-week canoeing trip on Georgian Bay a while back. They really went hell best for leather and covered a lot of ground. But if you looked at it on a map of all Lake Huron, it was nothing. A blip. They hadn't covered enough of the coastline to register on a map that covered the whole lake. You had to look at a local map to get any sense of them having covered distance.

If you could sum up Canada in one word, that word would be big. It is really, really big.
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  #40  
Old 07-28-2008, 01:59 PM
Gulo gulo Gulo gulo is offline
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Originally Posted by RickJay
If you could sum up Canada in one word, that word would be big. It is really, really big.
Can't resist...

Canada's Really Big by the Arrogant Worms (warning: home-made video but the song is a lot of fun.)
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  #41  
Old 07-28-2008, 06:05 PM
Balthisar Balthisar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffin
I would encourage folks come from away to travel the north by canoe for extended periods.
I love canoeing in Algonquin park! Last time I was there was September of 2006, though. Yeah, the same weekend that record storms knocked down power lines and destroyed roofs all over the damn region. Except on Happy Isle, it was the trees that were falling down all over the place. And the knee-high waves that prevented any hope of escape.

It was my second trip by canoe into the park, and despite the foul weather, I'd happily go again. I'll just make sure that I don't camp on any of the islands!

(This year's trip was much tamer -- just a couple of nights on the Au Sable here in good old Michigan.)
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  #42  
Old 07-28-2008, 06:09 PM
An Gadaí An Gadaí is offline
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Thanks everyone for your replies. I'm not seriously considering upping sticks and disappearing but the idea of living, at least for a while, somewhere properly remote fascinates me. I recall reading about a guy who lived on some forsaken rock in the South Atlantic for a while and the idea intrigued me. Having only ever visited Niagara Falls I must make a proper trip to the wilds of Canada and see for myself.
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  #43  
Old 07-29-2008, 07:48 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by An Gadaí
Thanks everyone for your replies. I'm not seriously considering upping sticks and disappearing but the idea of living, at least for a while, somewhere properly remote fascinates me. I recall reading about a guy who lived on some forsaken rock in the South Atlantic for a while and the idea intrigued me. Having only ever visited Niagara Falls I must make a proper trip to the wilds of Canada and see for myself.
And it's not just the wilds that are sparsely populated. I grew up in southern Saskatchewan - flat farmland that's been settled for a century, but still has a very low population density. Some years ago, one of the local doctors arranged to have a young doctor come out from Britain to join his practice, located about 260 miles southeast from the provincial capital, Regina, and about 15 miles from the US border.

The young doctor never arrived. He landed at Regina, rented a car, and started to drive. Before he got to the town where he was to work, he turned around and went back to Regina. He called and explained that as he was driving, he realised he'd gone over 40 miles without meeting another car. It spooked him, and he decided he wasn't cut out for the isolation of southern Saskatchewan.

I had the opposite experience when I travelled in India for a couple of weeks. I found myself getting increasingly antsy, to the point where I couldn't even stay in stores while a friend was shopping. I finally realised that what was bothering me was the people, always around. For the entire time I was there, if I had yelled, someone would have heard me. Even when we had a car breakdown in the deserts of Rajasthan, three guys popped up out of nowhere - not to help, but just to watch.

There was never a time when I was truly alone - and man, that was freaky for someone from the Canadian Prairies.
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  #44  
Old 07-30-2008, 01:04 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Northern Piper, I worked with a guy from SK who had the same experience in Germany. Everywhere he went, there were always people. Take a drive in the countryside? People. He had the same antsy feeling - too many people, all the time. I noticed that in myself, too, when we went to a ball game in Seattle - the psychic pressure of being in a stadium with 47,000 other people was...uncomfortable for me. I always feel like I stretch my mental legs out when I go back to the prairies.
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