Walkers protest “No Trespassing” signs

by Gayle Wilson

  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p>Organized by West Dublin photographer Peter Barss, walkers hiked in protest saying the coastal paths that have been traversed for generations increasingly are being blocked by private ownership.</p>
  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p>West Dublin photographer Peter Barss organized the protest hike around Hell&#8217;s Point in Kingsburg. He taped a quote from musician Woody Guthrie to the 24 &#8220;No Trespassing&#8221; signs the group passed, which read, &#8220;This land is your land and this land is my land.&#8221;</p>

Fifteen walkers defied "No Trespassing" signs to hike along the cliffs at Hell's Point near Kingsburg in Lunenburg County on August 6 to draw attention to the increasing privatization of paths along coastal properties.

"More and more people are buying up land and blocking access to paths and beaches that have been enjoyed by Nova Scotians for generations," West Dublin photographer Peter Barss told LighthouseNOW.

Barss, who organized the hike, said less than 10 percent of Nova Scotia's shoreline remains open to the public, while in Prince Edward Island the public can access about 80 per cent of the coast.

"The people who feel entitled enough to claim that they and they alone own the view from property they own might be legally right, but they are morally wrong," he insisted.

"We all have to think about what land 'ownership' means. Sure, legally you can forbid others to trespass. On the other hand, you can welcome hikers to enjoy a walk while respecting privacy and the integrity of the land."

Barss says the Nova Scotia government often "aids and abets well-heeled individuals who have the wherewithal to create their own exclusive kingdoms."

He referred to the recent controversy surrounding Crown land at Owls Head on the Eastern Shore, slated to be sold to private developers.

"Crown land is our land. Everyone's land. It should not be sold without our consent. Why do citizens have to fight our government so hard for something that is so clearly right?"

He suggests "No Trespassing" signs, private beach signs, and boulders that block paths to the shore "generate animosity and division in a community.

"Every time a stake for a 'No Trespassing' sign is pounded into the ground, the kindness and generosity of Nova Scotia is diminished," said Barss.

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