The Right of Public Access
When taking a walk in the forest, paddling a kayak or pitching a tent in the backcountry, you are entrenching on the Right of Public Access. The Right of Public Access is a unique right to roam freely in the countryside. With this right comes responsibilities – to take care of nature and wildlife and to show consideration for landowners and for other people enjoying the countryside. The Right of Public Access is summed up in the phrase ‘Don’t disturb – Don’t destroy.’
In protected areas such as national parks and nature reserves together with golf clubs special rules apply.
Lighting fires – You may light a fire in the country if conditions are safe. If you can, choose an already used fireplace. In dry weather there may be a fire ban.
Picking flowers, berries, and mushrooms – You are free to pick flowers, berries and mushrooms in the countryside. But keep in mind that some plants are protected, meaning that they must not be picked. You must not cut down or otherwise injure growing trees.
No littering! – Any littering is strictly forbidden. Broken glass, tins, cans, plastic, fishing lines, disposable grills and other kinds of litter can harm people as well as wildlife.
Off-road driving – It is forbidden to operate motor vehicles off road as it may cause damage.
Camping – You may pitch your tent or use your caravan or camper for a night or two in the countryside as long as you don’t disturb the landowner or cause damage to nature.
Hunting and fishing – The Right of Public Access does not cover hunting or fishing. You will have to find out what rules apply. You may spend time in the countryside during the hunting season but not intentionally disturb the hunt.
Water – You can swim, sail almost anywhere, and moor your boat as long as you don’t disturb anyone living near.
Cycling and horseback riding – You may ride a bike or a horse in the countryside and on private roads. Avoid wet ground that is easily damaged. There is no general ban on cycling along jogging or hiking trails, but remember that they are intended for people on foot.
Dogs – In order to protect the wildlife you must have total command over your dog; usually meaning on leash, especially in spring and summer.
Do not cross cultivated ground
Close the gate if you are crossing a fenced meadow.
Respect the privacy of residents and avoid coming too close to a dwelling.
Am I disturbing anyone? If you are unsure, please ask the locals! The people in Jämtland Härjedalen are friendly and hospitable!
Eating with a Clean Conscience
Whenever the craving for a snack or a meal arises, look out for locally sourced ingredients and artisan cuisine. Enquire about locally produced, organic or fair trade alternatives in the many restaurants, cafés and supermarkets – you might be astonished at the variety and quality on offer!
Explore the Sami culture or Jämtland’s cultural heritage in a local museum like Jamtli or an open air Museum, learn a few local phrases, sample Sami food or dine in the home of a local resident. Look out for markets and fairs, auctions, plays or concerts that can add a silver lining to your visit by letting you in to the local culture.
Travel in Style
Look for environmentally friendly alternatives when setting o on the day’s adventures. Could there be public transport or other collective transport heading in your direction? Or is there an option to rent an eco-car or bicycle?
Make sure to buy lots of souvenirs, gifts, outdoor and leisure wear, and interior design details. Authenticity in itself comes from purchasing locally designed products, maybe even from a flea market! And if you need clothes, boots or equipment for your adventures, it is possible to rent high quality items – a bonus for the environment and your budget!
Preparation is the number one rule for a memorable and safe holiday. Check the weather forecast, pack a map and compass, always take heed to signage and tell someone of your plans for the day. It´s worth packing warm clothing, extra food, blister friendly socks and shoes. Don´t count on mobile phone coverage.
Be Mindful Regarding Social Media
Tag a general location such as a state or region, if any at all. While tagging can seem innocent, it can also lead to significant impacts to particular places. Give some thought to what your images may encourage others to do. Images that demonstrate good Leave No Trace practices and stewardship are always in style.