81-Year-Old Forced From His Cabin After Living In Woods For 30 Years

by : Cameron Frew on : 04 Aug 2021 14:48
81-Year-Old Forced From His Cabin After Living In Woods For 30 YearsWMUR-TV

‘River Dave’, an 81-year-old man who’s been living in a cabin in the woods for nearly 30 years, has been forced to leave.

David Lidstone, a US Air Force veteran and father-of-four, has been living along the Merrimack River in Canterbury, New Hampshire, for 27 years; looking after his cat and chickens, growing his own food, cutting his own firewood and surviving quite happily thanks to the solar panels on his cabin. However, his existence living off the land is under threat.


He was put in jail on July 15 on a civil contempt sanction, accused of squatting on private property. With his hearing approaching and his cabin likely to be torn down, supporters have launched a petition to save his home, raise money for property taxes and get justice for a ‘local legend’.


The Change.org petition has already amassed more than 1,300 signatures. ‘He is a veteran a local legend a homesteader and most importantly human being. I’d like to petition for Dave to spend his years on the land. He’s always willing to help anyone coming down the river and he always has fresh produce or eggs for the campers,’ it reads.

‘He shouldn’t owe anybody anything. The property he’s on has a verbal agreement that he could stay there for the remainder of his life but how ever there is no proof of it how ever he’s been on the piece of land for over two decades with no harm to anyone. Currently sitting in jail while they’re planning on tearing down his homestead and keeping him off the land that he has spent the last two decades on, and created himself,’ it adds.

'River Dave' has been living off the land for nearly 30 years. (WMUR-TV)WMUR-TV

According to Lidstone, the owner of the land previously promised he wouldn’t force him to move. However, its current owner Leonard Giles, 86, didn’t even know he was there until 2015. A judge first asked him to vacate his property back in 2017, but managed to resist all attempts until his recent arrest.

He’s currently being held in jail, but he’ll be released if one of three things happen: Giles knocks down the cabin; Lidstone agrees to leave; or 30 days pass without any sort of action. ‘I will sit here until I rot, or I will go home,’ he said, as per AP News.


His brother Vincent said: ‘What they’re doing to him isn’t right for anybody, whether he’s my brother or anybody’s brother. He’s 81 years old. Leave him alone.’

Jodie Gedeon, a kayaker and friend of Lidstone, also said: ‘He’s just a really, really, big caring guy, and just chooses to live off the grid… it really is about humanity, it really is about compassion, empathy… he’s not hurting anybody.’

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Cameron Frew

Entertainment Editor at UNILAD. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the best film ever made, and Warrior is better than Rocky. That's all you need to know.

Topics: News, New Hampshire, Now, US


AP and 1 other
  1. AP

    After decades in woods, New Hampshire man forced from cabin

  2. Change.org

    Justice for Local Legend River Dave