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Old 02-19-07, 03:05 PM   #1
ralph12
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A question that nobody I know knows the answer to

Is there any chance anybody here knows how to claim land out in the wilderness as your own? I've gone through a lot of woods that are so thickly-coated in brush and brambles and are so far-out that there isn't even discarded litter in them (discarded litter is the worst kind), so it sort of leads me to believe nobody actually owns them. If no one owns this land, is there any way to, uh, own it for yourself?
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Old 02-19-07, 03:07 PM   #2
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It depends where you are - but there are homestead laws and squatter laws - you should look these up for your state or where you are.

For example, here in Costa Rica, if you find private land abandoned, all you have to do is improve it and stay there for 3 months - and you have a legitimate claim.

I think Florida has something similar after 7 years.
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Old 02-19-07, 03:07 PM   #3
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I always assume that even if no one technically 'owns' the land, Uncle Sam will find a way to stick it to you if you try to claim it.
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Old 02-19-07, 03:07 PM   #4
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I don't think there is land in the US that 'someone' doesn't own these days. If it isn't privately owned, the government probably owns it.
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Old 02-19-07, 03:08 PM   #5
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I don't think there is land in the US that 'someone' doesn't own these days. If it isn't privately owned, the government probably owns it.
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Old 02-19-07, 03:09 PM   #6
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You might be careful too - in some of the real remote areas you have nasty neighbors - like people with chemical factories - and not the legal kind.
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Old 02-19-07, 03:12 PM   #7
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I think there are still areas in the California desert that are available via squatting. But you have to live there for like 10 years, and we're talking WHAY out in BFE. Google is your friend....
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Old 02-19-07, 03:13 PM   #8
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Old 02-19-07, 03:15 PM   #9
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Maybe taking land by force would be fun. Then string up some Constantine wire, build a bunker, get yourself armed to the teeth and wait for the fun to begin.
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Old 02-19-07, 03:25 PM   #10
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The process is known as "adverse possession" and it has been part of our law for many, many years. It requires peaceful, open, and adverse occupation of land for a period of years. By "adverse," it simply means inconsistent with the notion of someone else holding title to the property. Basically, you've got to improve the land--build on it, farm it, something like that.

The period of years is generally, if you have no instrument or other showing colorable title, about 10 years or more.

However, bear in mind that, if it's the land belongs to the state, there's no such thing as adverse possession. You cannot adversely possess sovereign property. You'd need to see what your own state's constitution and property laws have to say on the subject, too.
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Old 02-19-07, 03:49 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone. This info is very useful. Most of it, anyhow.
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Old 02-19-07, 04:02 PM   #12
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One can not 'own' land, the earth lets us live here.
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Old 02-19-07, 04:05 PM   #13
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+1000 !
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Old 02-19-07, 09:37 PM   #14
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I think there are still areas in the California desert that are available via squatting. But you have to live there for like 10 years, and we're talking WHAY out in BFE. Google is your friend....
I was unaware of that, but if it's true, you can bet it's not very attractive land.

Other than that, I'm pretty sure Chipcom is correct about the disposition of land in the US.
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Old 02-20-07, 12:03 AM   #15
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In Texas, if someone squats on land for seven years, its theirs. So, people every five years get the land surveyed to ensure this doesn't happen.

Depending on the wind conditions, that land in West Texas and the California desert may start picking up in price as people start buying up land to do private windmill farms.
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Old 02-20-07, 12:12 AM   #16
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A few (3? 4?) decades agoa few families legally homesteaded (160 acres) some land in Alaska. Last I heard a few of them had stuck with it and had gained legal possession. I'd lay odds some villians (congress) have removed that option by now. Now if you have a valid mineral claim on certain classes of Federal land you might still be able to do it. I don't know of any minerals in Texas besides Uranium, Sulfer, or Gold.
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Old 02-20-07, 12:13 AM   #17
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There is still the 1860ish mining act that allows you to claim a certain amount of land as a mining claim. Some of the claims are simply a method to keeping public land as your own. You do have to "improve" the claim each year.
There is a valley running into Death Valley that was closed off to four wheelers and a group of them filed suit because the closure did not take into account their claim. They were forced to walk into the claims and it is in litigation.
I am not sure as to the particulars at this time, but you can claim land on public property.
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Old 02-20-07, 12:17 AM   #18
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Sometime ago I heard Alaska was giving out 500 acres if you became a homesteader. Don't know if they still do it but you could check!
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Old 02-20-07, 07:26 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SingleSpeeDemon
Maybe taking land by force would be fun. Then string up some Constantine wire, build a bunker, get yourself armed to the teeth and wait for the fun to begin.
Invade Canada!
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Old 02-20-07, 07:43 AM   #20
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Old 02-20-07, 08:10 AM   #21
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If you are thinking the old western homstead days then no you can be rest assured there is no land unclaimed for the most part to just take. What land is not personally owned is usually owned by the FG (Federal Government). Like the land in MT in some areas that just is not too livable.

Can you buy it for dirt cheap......? Yes, but if you want barren land then fork a few green backs over.
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