The Swedish Nature is open for everyone – you can enjoy singing birds, scents, flowering meadows and the forest’s silence. But you have to be considerate towards other humans and animals as well as the surrounding nature. Do not disturb- do not destroy, that is the right of Public Access’ main rule. The Right of Public Access does not permit everything, read here to see what applies.
You are allowed to walk, bike, ride and skii as long as you do not damage any crops, afforestation or other vulnerable areas. You have to respect the domestic peace and you cannot trespass on someone else’s private property or land. “Property” – which is not always enclosed – is the area closest to the main house. The people who live there have a right to be private. Your stay in nature cannot interfere with the activities of landowners.
When riding you must be extra cautious. There is a considerate risk of damaging the ground, especially when riding in group. Do not ride on designated jogging tracks, ski-tracks, hiking trails or over soft fragile grounds. Mountain biking might also damage the land and should be carried out with extra caution. You are allowed to cross enclosed pastureland as long as you do not disturb the cattle or damage the fence. Close the gates after yourself to prevent any animals from escaping the enclosure.
No motor vehicles in the terrain
There is no right of public access for motorized vehicles. According to the law of terrain-driving it is forbidden to drive a car, MC, moped or any other motorized vehicle in the terrain. Nor is it permitted to drive a motorized vehicle on private roads that are closed for unauthorized traffic. Such restrictions must be indicated by road signs.
You can park next to the road if you do not break any traffic rules, damage the ground or disturb the landowner. Your vehicle should be parked so that it is not be a danger to traffic and it should not block traffic.
It is allowed to set a tent for one or a couple of days on land where farming is not carried on and not too close to a residence. The closer you are to any inhabited houses, the greater the risk that you could disturb someone and all the greater reason there is to ask the landowner for permission before camping. Consideration is especially important when camping with a caravan or a motor home. Such camping is governed by off-road vehicle use laws.
Never start a fire if there is the least risk of the fire spreading. Fire is most often prohibited when the weather is dry. Contact the municipality’s fire department if you are uncertain to what applies. Extinguish the fire properly before leaving the site. You could get a fine or penalty if the fire spreads. Never start a fire directly on rock surface. The rock could crack and get permanent unpleasant marks that never heal.
Swimming and Boating
You are allowed to go ashore, temporarily tie up your boat and swim almost everywhere, except near private properties and areas that are off limit due of wildlife protection. Otherwise the same rules apply as when camping. You are allowed to temporarily tie your boat up at someone else’s pier as long as your boat does not hinder the pier’s owner. If you are unsure, ask the owner. You can travel by boat at sea or in lakes and streams. Note that there might be specific prohibitions such as speed limitations or access prohibition. Remember that motorboat operators need to be more considerate than quieter boaters. Jet skis can only be used in areas that are approved by the municipality.
Flowers and berries
You are not allowed to take twigs, branches, birch-bark, leaves, acorns, nuts or resin from growing trees. Naturally you cannot take bushes or cut trees down. However you are allowed to pick wild berries, flowers and mushrooms, branches and twigs that are already on the ground. Some flowers are so rare that there is a risk of extinction and those flowers are protected by law and are illegal to pick. The county board can provide information on protected plants. Orchids are illegal to pick in the whole of Sweden.
According to law (2007:1150 16§) dogs must be supervised so that they are prevented from running loose on grounds where there is wildlife. March 1 to August 20 is a sensitive period for wildlife, and dogs are not allowed to run loose then. During other times of the year, you also must have your dog under sufficient control so that it does not disturb or damage wildlife and other people.
Within Karlshamn’s municipality, it is forbidden to have dogs unleashed on jogging tracks or in the nature preserve.
Hunting and Fishing
Hunting and Fishing is not included in The Right of Public Access, but you are allowed to fish with a rod and certain other hand gear along the coasts and in Sweden’s five largest lakes; Vänern, Vättern, Mälaren, Hjälmaren and Storsjön. The exception is fishing Salmon along the coast of Norrland. Fishing in other waters requires a fishing license or other permit. Always find out what rules apply to where you want to fish. Never leave lines or hooks behind, it could be deathtraps for animals.
You should not touch animals young or nests and you are not allowed to harvest bird eggs. That is considered hunting. Some mammals and birds are allowed to be hunted, others are protected by law.
All littering outside is prohibited. If you have been camping or had a picnic you must clean up after yourself. Never put rubbish bags beside a full garbage can. Glass, cans and bottle caps can harm both humans and animals and plastic bags cause great suffering for animals if they ingest them.