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Best resources in the US to find land owners?

What are the best resources for finding who owns the land around the summits in the US. Specifically Washington state to start with. I want to do a road trip and there are several peaks along the way but I have no way of knowing who to contact or if I even need to. Are there any online resources or is it ok to just hike the mountain and activate unless there are signs telling to keep off?

Might be obvious for natives here, but I come from Finland where outdoors is free game to all on foot. Obvious restrictions of course of staying out of someones backyard. But it does not matter if land is owned privately, it is still ok to hike and camp there with certain restrictions.

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Plenty of peaks are in national forest or BLM, Bureau of Land Management, and such are fair game. Laws regarding private land vary from state to state. In New Mexico, land not fenced or “posted” may be crossed, after all, how do you visit someone without “trespassing?” You walk up to the front door and knock. If land is fenced, the posting, if there is any, will be on the gate, so if fenced you are expected to go to the gate to find out if it is posted or not. If not posted and not locked, you may cross. Montana is very different. No fence or posting is necessary, and permission must be sought. I guess you can not walk up to a front door and knock in Montana. - fred kt5x

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Let me respond as a Canadian visitor to the US. It is not easy to find out if land is privately owned before you get there.
When I have done trips to the US to do SOTA activations, the first place I look is the SOTA database to see if the peak has been activated frequently before. This is a good indicator that un-complicated public access is OK. There are sometimes notes, one or two activators actually have check-boxes to say if permits/permission/admission charge, etc. are needed. Very helpful.
There are also local SOTA groups across the country, in the Pacific North-west have a look at http://www.pnwsota.org/
This publication documents SOTA trips and is a great resource.
Be aware of the size of the activation zone at your target. I have found that it is not uncommon for there to be a house or small community right on top of a hill, but there is a public road running through the activation zone and it is possible to activate from there.
Finally, if in doubt about access, I would recommend not entering.
Ian
VE6IXD

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Another possible resource is a phone app called “Landgrid”. I have it on my Android phone. Not sure if it’s available on iPhones. You might want to check it out.

73, Walt

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Hello Pauli -
Yes, I’ve enjoyed activating in OH-land - once I asked permission to hike and activate and the question just led to confusion…because it was okay to hike anywhere through the woods there.
Ian-VE7IXD’s suggestion is excellent - use https://sotl.as/map and http://www.pnwsota.org/ for information on access for peaks that have already been activated - that makes it easy. Those that require permits pnwsota.org has that information.
73, Etienne-K7ATN

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Onyx Maps is popular as well although its not cheap as I recall.

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Not sure whether they will work well in Washington, but the two main sources I have used are listsofjohn.com and acrevalue.com. On listsofjohn, once you bring up a summit’s data page, you can click on the map to get a full-size map, then click on “Add Land Mgt” which will overlay a color-coded ownership map.
On acrevalue.com, you can input Lat/Lon coordinates and then it will show actual name of the landowner, if they have it in their system. I’ve had reasonable success with it.
Land ownership is definitely a big issue. In Arizona we have many summits on NFS land which is nice, but there are also many on tribal land that are off-limits. Sometimes the boundaries cross directly over a summit. When researching other states I have often been disappointed to find that a summit that appeared to be reasonably accessible was in fact privately owned, but I’d rather know that up front instead of showing up and discovering a No Trespassing sign.
I should add that many peakbaggers (not hams) don’t respect private land or off-limits land, in fact some view it as an extra challenge to get up there. But I think that we as amateur radio operators should be very careful to respect the boundaries rather than put a bad name on our hobby, so it’s very important to research first and not just assume that if someone else has hiked up there that we can too.
Good luck es 73,
Keith KR7RK

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I also use geocaching.com to see if there are any nearby geocaches. Sometimes they’ll provide parking coordinates and a route description.

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The best app in my opinion is “On X Hunt.” The app is designed for hunters, but it provides public record information for the landowners. The app is very intuitive and is a great supplement for the resources listed in this thread like peakbagger or geocaching sites.

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