Thanks to an article in today's edition of the Gisborne Herald about the costs incurred by the district to maintain its related sites, I learned the phrase "freedom camping." Apparently, in New Zealand, unless it is posted to the contrary, it is legal to camp on public land, including unimproved land without facilities—even if the location isn't formally a campground or site. The concept is similar to Scandinavia and Europe's freedom to roam idea, which embraces the public's right to access wilderness.
In the United States, there's not a strong corollary to freedom camping or freedom to roam, but private individuals aren't always able to stop others from crossing their land to access adjacent wilderness. For example, Malibu landowners being fined for blocking beach access.
I'd love to learn more about the history of freedom camping. If any Camplifornians can recommend resources, I'd appreciate it!