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barries1Andy and Ceil Barrie chose a retreat property far off the beaten path. They spent time and money developing the early C19th cabin in the White River national forest. Making it their own.

Then the Forest service comes along and says, “Nope, we want this land – you’re out.”

Can they just take it, evicting you like they are the landlord and you are merely a tenant, despite your name on the deed?

Yes they can.

That’s exactly what happened to Andy and Ceil Barrie in Colorado and the government won.

The move shocked the Barries. They have allowed hikers to travel through their property, had no plans to develop the land and were negotiating with the county at the time it moved to seize the property through Eminent Domain.

Open space “is all it’s ever been,” said Andy Barrie. “I feel like I can’t trust my government.”

Summit County Attorney Jeff Huntley said the county had to act after the Barries insisted on being able to use motorized transport to get to the cabin. “People in this community are very intent on preserving the back country,” he said.

The moral to this story is, the government does not support the lifestyle to which many of us aspire. Self-sufficiency and freedom from the grid are not celebrated, but demonized. The government, through various agencies masquerading as do-gooders, have waged war on woodstoves, off-grid lifestyles, front yard vegetable gardens, and anything that might allow you to live without their daily input or without being subject to their many taxes and fees.

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Private property rights are ignored and according to the government, we must all submit to their “eminent domain”. What it boils down to: You might think you own something, but it’s clear that it is only yours until the government decides that they want it.

The government used many different bizarre strategies to get the people off of their land. Pay close attention, because precedents are being set that could affect hunters, fishermen or anyone creating off the grid retreats.

#1 ATV access threatened an endangered species as they drove the 1.2 miles off main road occasionally.

#2 The county demanded that “various commercial activities” be halted. They brought dead pine cones one Christmas to make wreaths, from their own land.

#3 The county condemned the cabin because of electrical and plumbing issues. It had no electric or plumbing, it was a day cabin.

#4 The cabin was in violation of zoning laws. What laws?

And don’t think you are safe because you aren’t in America. Land owners in Australia are finding out the hard way that the government can take their land too. In the UK, almost nobody dares live off-grid because the local planners can have them fined and ultimately jailed for contempt of court.

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