We own farmland near Andrew. Our land has a gravel pit and a huge spring-fed dugout. Hopefully we’ll soon also have a gas well-site. At the entrance to this area is a No Trespassing sign. Written in English — the first language of most people in the area.
Imagine my fury when for the second time in less than a year I caught people using our property for recreational purposes.
This time it was two, I’d guess, mid to late twenties young men. The one I confronted was on a dirt bike and helmeted. The other was on a quad. They were both ripping around on the staging area of the gravel pit where stockpiles of crushed gravel, pit run and elimination piles are stacked. To the east was the drilling rig and accompanying men, equipment and camp.
I calmly asked the guy his name and he told me. I asked him what he was doing and he told me. I asked if he was with the crew. “No, I’m from Saskatchewan,” he replied. “Get going,” I said. “Okay, we’ll load up and go,” he said.
I follow him further into the property where he and his bud had parked their late model 4×4 trucks. I sit there with the engine idling and watch them load up their gear and leave.
I’m boiling mad. I feel a sense of personal invasion. I’m ticked off by the blatant disregard for someone else’s personal property. I’m convinced that no one who actually owns their own piece of property would violate others in this way. I think about the legal consequences if these idiots break their necks or drown in the dugout. I wonder if their parents know what they’re doing and where. I can’t imagine my son doing this. Where do parental teachings and values come into this I wonder? Where does this feeling of entitlement –the notion that what I want is the only thing that matters — come from?
The last time I confronted trespassers I used my truck to block their exit from the property. That exchange wasn’t quite as pleasant. The older man I spoke to was wearing a balaclava because of the temperature. I asked him if it was his property. No. Well is it public property then? No. So if it’s not yours and it’s not public, then it belongs to someone and you’re trespassing [you moron] I say. He was belligerent and ignorant. He wouldn’t give me his full name. He had no vehicle in sight so he may have been visiting nearby.
The exploration company will be erecting a metal swinging gate with padlock when their work is done. It can’t happen soon enough for me.
Please, dear reader, think about the property owner when you go quadding, berry or mushroom picking, hunting, whatever. Ask permission. Seek out crown land. Buy your own recreational land. Trespassing is illegal, immoral, irresponsible and ticks off the owners, from where I sit.
*Reprinted with permission