Minnesota’s trespass law

The trespass law applies to all outdoor recreation. Whether fishing, hunting, or taking part in any other outdoor recreation, you may not enter legally posted land or agricultural land without permission.

Landowners, lessees, or authorized managers need only post their land once a year. The signs must be placed at intervals of 1,000 feet (500 feet in wooded areas) or signs may be placed at primary corners and at access points to the property. Signs must state “No Trespassing,” or similar words, in two-inch high letters and have the signature or name and telephone number of the landowner, lessee, or manager.

There can be civil or criminal penalties for violation of the trespass laws. Civil penalties start with $50 for first offense and up to $500 and loss of license or registration for a third offense within three years. All Conservation and Peace Officers enforce trespass laws.

Rules of thumb for water access and recreational use—These are simple rules of thumb and are not intended to address all water access and recreational use situations. If you have doubts about whether you may be trespassing on private land, we recommend that you ask the landowner for permission.

1. What is lawful access? A stream orf lake is lawfully accessible if there is a public access, or if public land or a public road right-of-way abuts the surface of the water, or if you have permission to cross private land to reach the surface of the water.

2. What is recreational use? Recreational use includes boating, swimming, fishing, hunting, trapping, and similar activities. It includes walking in the water in connection with such activities regardless of who owns the land beneath the surface of the water.

3. What waters are open to recreational use? A stream or lake is open to recreational use over its entire surface if it is capable of recreational use and if it is lawfully accessible. Any water that will float a canoe is capable of recreational use, but other waters may also qualify depending upon the circumstances.

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