Two mountain bikers on a mountain trail

Researchers studied land tenure changes and access trends including landowners’ attitudes and behaviors related to access, easements, and secondary income. They also evaluated 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.


  • Lisa Chase and Walter Kuentzel of the University of Vermont 
  • Tom Brown of Cornell University 
  • John Daigle of the University of Maine 
  • Robert Robertson of the University of New Hampshire

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Report and Summary 2009

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