Right and wrong in the countryside       ( Here the German version Gemeingebrauch )

In Sweden, the Right of Public Access allows you to roam about freely or to go camping in the countryside. You are entitled to enjoy the fragrance of the flowercovered meadows, the singing birds and the peaceful silence of the deep forest. But please... DON´T DISTURB AND DESTROY! If you keep the following rules in mind you will be sure of keeping on the right side of Swedish laws and customs.

Fishing - but no hunting You are entitled to fish with a rod or other hand tackle along the coast and in the lakes Vänern, Vättern, Mälaren, Hjälmaren and Storsjön (in Jämtland). That does not apply to salmon fishing on the coast of Norrland however. In other waters, and if you want to fish with nets and similar tackle, you will have to buy a license. Always find out what regulations are in force in the particular place where you want to go fishing. Never throw fishing lines and hooks away out of doors - they could be lethal traps for animals. Hunting is not allowed. Needless to say, you are not permitted to take any species of bird´s eggs. Avoid disturbing nests and young animals.

Respect peoples privacy! You are perfectly entitled to walk, jog, cycle, ride or ski across other people´s land - provided you do not cause any damage to crops, forest plantations or fences. But you are not entitled to cross or stay on a private plot without permission - that would be a violation of privacy. The plot, which is not always hedged or fenced in, is the area closest to a dwelling house. The people who live there are entlitled to do so in peace. This, after all, is their private area.

Camping You are allowed to pitch your tent for a day or two on land which is not used for farming, and which is not close to a dwelling. The closer to houses you wish to camp, the more likely you are to cause a disturbance, and the greater the need to ask the landowner for permission. How long you can keep your tent pitched in one and the same place depends on the circumstances. It would not be very wise or considerate, for instance, to pitch your tent even for only one night in the immediate vicinity of a private plot of land.

Lightning fires You are allowed to light a camp fire only if there is no risk of the fire spreading. The lighting of fires may be generally prohibited during periods of drought. Be sure to put your fire out properly before you break camp. If the fire should spread, you may be held liable for damages. Never light a fire on bare rocks as they will crack and split, resulting in ugly irreparable scars.

Take your litter with you If you have been camping or picknicking in the woods or elsewhere in the countryside you must tidy up afterwards. Never put your rubbish bags down beside a full garbage can or rubbish sack as wild animals are likely to tear them to pieces and pull the rubbish out. Bottles, cans and bottle tops can also injure both people and animals, while plastic bags can cause extreme suffering to animals and livestock if ingested.

Picking flowers and berries You are not allowed to take twigs, branches, bark, leaves, acorns, nuts or resin from growing trees. This is regarded as damage or theft. And of course you may not cut down growing trees, bushes or shrubs. You are entitled to pick wild berries and flowers, mushrooms and to take fallen branches and dry twigs from the ground. However, certain flowers, which are so rare that they are at risk of extinction, are protected by law and may not be picked. The country council Tourist Office can tell you which plants are protected in the area where you are staying.

Swimming and boatning You are permitted to swim, tie up your boat for a day or two, or go ashore everywhere, except close to dwellings or where entry has been prohibited by an authority, for instance in a bird or seal sanctuary. How long you may stay ashore will depend on the situation. The same rules apply here as for camping. Driving your motorboat or rowing, sailing, paddling on somebody else´s water is permitted. Bear in mind, however, that there may be certain restrictions, such as speed limits, no entry or no water-skiing. If you use a motorboat you must show extra consideration.

Personal watercrafts Personal water craft - jet skis, water scooters, etc. - can disturb humans and animals, cause harm to plants and wildlife and spread infectious animal diseases. Personal water craft may therefore only be driven in areas specially designated by the County Administration Board. For further information on these areas, contact the County Administration Board (Länsstyrelsen).

No motor vehicles off-road You are not permitted to drive a car, motorbike, moped or any other motor vehicle off-road, or on roads that are closed to public motor traffic. Roads of this kind may be marked with signs "Ej motorfordon" (No motor vehicles) or "Enskild väg" (Private road). You may, however, often park on the roadside, but remember to leave your car and caravan so that they not cause an obstruction or endanger other road users. If you go horseback-riding across other people´s land you must be particularly careful not to inadvertently cause damage of any kind. Do not ride, and be extra careful when cycling along marked exercise tracks and haiking trails, or anywhere else where you are likely to cause a nuisance. You are entitled to cross fenced-in areas provided you do not damage the fence, but make sure that you close all gates properly to prevent cattle from straying. It goes without saying that you may not climb over a fence into a private plot of land.

Bringing cats and dogs into Sweden To ensure that rabies, distemper and leptospiros are not brought in with the animal, your dog or cat must be vaccinated against these diseases. At the border checkpoint you must present a bill of health issued by a veterinarian, and your animal must be ID-marked. For further information, contact the National Board of Agriculture, 551 82 Jönköping, Sweden, tel. + 46 36 15 50 00. From 1 March-20 August you must keep your dog under very strict control. Even at other times of the year dogs must be kept under such control so that they cannot injure or frighten wild animals.

Enjoy Yourselves in the Swedish countryside!

Here you will find the more "fancy" version of The Public Access - right and wrong in the countryside, also including rules about Canoeing etc.

And here the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

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