The Right of Public Access

von Länsstyrelsen Norrbotten 2021-03-16

‘Don’t disturb – Don’t destroy’

Thanks to the Right of Public Access we are all entitled to be in nature. But it is freedom with responsibility, with both rights and obligations. We may roam practically anywhere in nature if we show consideration and do not disturb or destroy. We must not damage the surroundings or disturb wildlife and flora or other people living or present there. It is our common responsibility to use this custom considerately.

The Right of Public Access is not a law, but is subject to laws which set limits to what is allowed. It can be difficult to know exactly what is and is not allowed. Therefore we have assembled a few things that are important to remember when in nature. But bear in mind that special rules can apply in national parks and nature reserves.

You may pick berries, mushrooms, wild flowers and plants in nature. But not protected mushrooms, flowers or plants, nor flowers and plants that grow in national parks and nature reserves, where special regulations apply. Neither may you disturb, damage or take home animals, and you may not take eggs from birds’ nests.

You may light a fire if you are careful and ensure that the fire does not spread or injure animals or damage plants. But you may not light a fire directly on flat rocks, or when there is a ban on fires. Neither may you leave the site without extinguishing the fire.

You may bring a dog with you in nature, but you must be able to stop it from driving or chasing wildlife. Otherwise it should be on a leash. In spring and summer you should have the dog on a leash. In certain national parks, dogs are not allowed, in others they must be kept on a leash at all times of year. The County Administrative Board has information about what applies in national parks and nature reserves.

In the mountains, the rules about bringing a dog in nature are stricter than elsewhere. The dog must always be on a leash in areas where reindeer herding is permitted, which is most of the mountains.

You may take dry branches, twigs, brush and pine and spruce cones off the ground to make a fire for example. But you may not break off living twigs or take birch bark or bark from other living trees.

You may relieve yourself in nature if there is no latrine nearby. It is a good idea to first dig a pit and afterwards cover paper and excrement with earth or stones.

You may pitch a tent on someone else's land without special permission if you show consideration, respect the residence zone, and do not stay longer than a day or so. But you must not cause wear by trampling on vegetation, breaking twigs or spreading toilet waste over the area.

You must not litter in nature or leave refuse next to an overfilled refuse bin. Take the waste home. Bring along a bag you can collect waste in.

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