University of Vermont

Vermont Tourism Research Center

VTRC Research and Outreach: northern forest

Northern Forest Research:
Public Access to Private Lands in the Northern Forest

Mountain bikers.  Photo provided by Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing.

Lisa Chase, Walt Kuentzel, University of Vermont
Tom Brown, Cornell University
John Daigle, University of Maine
Robert Robertson, University of New Hampshire

Goal: Conduct studies on land tenure changes and access trends including primary data collection on landowners’ attitudes and behaviors related to access, easements, and secondary income. Evaluate the extent to which limited liability recreation statutes adequately protect landowners.

Outcomes and Products: Land tenure changes, globalization of the timber industry, growing recreational demand, and new conservation easements have all contributed to the changing landscape of the Northern Forest region. Study findings indicated that almost half of private landowners have not limited recreational access to their lands in the past ten years, and less than 10% have closed off their land completely. Despite this level of access, the perception held by the majority of private landowners suggests that public access in the region has decreased over the same ten years. In addition, many private landowners are not well-informed about liability protection offered them by state statutes, while large investment landowners tend to be more familiar with landowner liability statutes.

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Funding for this project was provided in part by the Northeastern States Research Cooperative, a partnership of the Northern Forest states in coordination with the USDA Forest Service.

Last modified May 14 2014 09:32 AM