Can you trespass on public property (or, in other words, do you actually own said property?)

“Public,” as used here, refers only to government-run, taxpayer-funded properties such as federal, state, and city parks, and military bases.

Our government is ours, after all.

Yes you can trespass on government property. Not all government owned property is simply open to the public. Even property like public parks can be regulated with specific open hours and other restrictions.

IIRC any land under the Bureau Of Land Management is essentially freely open to the public.

Wasn’t that Cliven Bundy’s argument?

I second Tripolar and add that I don’t think you will find many military bases open to the general public these days. And even back in the 70s and earlier large parts were off limits.


CMC fnord!

We do not own our government in the ordinary sense. The government acts as a steward for our interests.

We do fund government activities through taxes, but to say we therefore own federal properties and can use them as we wish is just as silly as telling cops they can’t give you a ticket because you pay their salaries.

Even I’m too young to have taken a civics course in school - it was social studies by then - but bringing them back would be an excellent idea.

I think this is generally true of both BLM and U.S. Forest Service lands, with a few exceptions such as patented mining claims and active logging sites. But there are very strict rules about what you can do there. Both agencies have become very strict about off-road motorized travel, and of course any kind of commercial activity requires a permit, usually a fee, and is heavily regulated. This includes such things as woodcutting, mushrooming, quarrying, berry picking, guiding/outfitting, etc. Some exceptions are made for rockhounds, foragers and the like when it is small-scale and obviously for personal use only. Cultural artifacts like arrowheads must be left* in situ*.

I had a civics course in 1977 in junior high; the next year in a different school system I had social studies though, so apparently I was present at the transition.

Using that logic, I could take a mailbox off of the city street, or strap the courthouse statue to the hood of my car and take it home and use it for a couple of days because the government is partly mine and as long as I bring it back for others to use, no harm no foul.

We elect those in government to provide regulations for the use of public property so that it isn’t trampled into oblivion or misused by a select few to the detriment of others.

The study lounges at UCLA require a campus ID to be allowed to sit there, on the basis of spot checks by the CSOs. Given it’s a crowded urban campus the restriction is understandable, but on the other hand it doesn’t seem quite right that you can be visiting the campus on perfectly legitimate and valid business and stop for a cup of coffee or something, and in some cases have no place where you’re allowed to sit down and consume it. I mean, not even for the fifteen minutes you would spend sitting and drinking coffee–granted, the CSO probably isn’t going to come and roust you, but why would you want to have to keep telling yourself that as you sit there? Even an Extension enrollment doesn’t give you brown leather armchair privileges.

The warning signs in the study lounges invoke a criminal trespassing law with punishments up to one year’s incarceration or fine, or both.

Publicly owned property aside, another way one can trespass on one’s own property is when it has been leased to tenants, and the landlord enters without the tenants’ permission. Barring willful abuse of the premises, nonpayment of rent, emergencies and urgent repairs, etc., this can constitute a trespass by the landlord. IANAL, but I believe this comes down from common law and has generally been confirmed by statute in the relevant countries.

There was a bit of a spat here in Virginia a year or so ago over the fact that public university campuses here are open to the public, including those legally carrying concealed weapons, but it was a disciplinary offense at many schools for students to carry concealed weapons, permit or not. So your daughter at State U can be sent to the Dean’s office for walking across the football field with a 22 cal target pistol, while her townie boyfriend can walk up and down the quad armed to the teeth with assault weaponry.

Arlington Cemetery is legally a military base (not a National Park as commonly assumed), and is open to the public during regular visiting hours.

Try hanging around the Philadelphia Mint after tours are over and see what happens!!

I have this case in my head, it is a classic example of your scenario.

On a note about that, even when a cemetery is PRIVATELY owned, the courts have generally agreed if a family member is buried there, one has a legal right to visit even when told not to.

Christ Church burial ground in Philadelphia is privately owned, the same would apply IF persons were refused entry I suppose. However there are 5 signers of the Declaration of Independence buried their, including Benjamin Franklin.

Last time I was in Philly, it was a 2.00 admission, which I gladly paid. There other notable people buried there also.

<bolding mine>

I assume you are pointing out that there are military bases open to the public at times, but what do you suppose happens if you go there outside of regular visiting hours?