Much is made of Maine’s tradition of public access to private property. It is a benefit that countless residents and visitors to our state have enjoyed going back generations and is the basis for a lot of Maine’s outdoor recreation economy.

The state and every other level of government in Maine are also beneficiaries of this arrangement, taking in millions in taxes, registration and licensing fees.

The arrangement is under stress these days as more and more land is being posted. If you listen to the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, the posting is mostly the result of illegal dumping and other disrespectful behavior.

I have a different take on this. I believe what you are seeing are the beginnings of a property owners’ revolt against government’s heavy-handed and costly interference into the use and ultimately the value of people’s land.

Take the recent Goose Rocks Beach Supreme Judicial Court ruling, for example. This is a case of property owners being forced to fight for their rights when a local government essentially tried to seize their property.

Other, less-heard about cases of what I call government theft are the result of what’s referred to as “regulatory taking.”


If you were the owner of what is termed a “significant vernal pool” or, like me, a “water fowl and wading bird habitat,” you would know how it feels to have what you have worked for taken from you with no compensation, all for the greater good.

So, as your local and state governments keep pushing to remove the right of property owners to use, enjoy and derive value from their property, you will find more and more property owners exercising one right that government has not yet been able to take: the right to post.

Anthony Garrity

West Newfield

Comments are no longer available on this story