Teach children to respect private property

Friends say they are confronted with hostility by trespassers.

Imagine … explaining to your child about being respectful of other people’s property.

I don’t own waterfront, but I have friends who do. They pay hefty taxes and insurance for this privilege. It’s not unusual for them to find families setting up picnics, building fires and generally making themselves right at home on their property and leaving behind trash and dog poop. Sometimes making dams in streams where salmon are spawning. If they try to tell these people that they are trespassing, they’re most often confronted with hostility.

Imagine looking out your window to find people in your yard making themselves at home and being outraged when you try and explain that they’re not welcome there.

To be fair, Washington State laws regarding beach rights are confusing. Some properties include the tidelands, others do not. We’re not like Hawaii where there is no such thing as private beaches. I don’t have an opinion as to whether that’s good or bad, but I do know that’s the way it is.

We are fortunate to have many beautiful parks and beaches. I would suggest explaining to your child about taking care of these wonderful spaces. Maybe you could help them form a volunteer group to help maintain them. There are so many ways to teach your child. Trespassing is not one of them.

— Patricia Buchanan

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