Landowners who choose to allow the New England Trail on their property are protected in a number of ways:
Landowners should review their own comprehensive insurance coverage for their home, since many policies include liability coverage for recreational acreage (i.e., vacant land).
The law does not require landowners to inspect their property or keep the property safe for recreational activity. Only in cases where the CT landowner has acted "maliciously" may he or she be liable. The MA stature requires a showing of “willful, wanton, or reckless conduct” by the landowner. In both instances, the statutes specifically protect landowners who are not charging admission for access to their property.
Complete America's Great Trails Act
There are many miles of the national trails system still to be protected, much of the surrounding lands we consider essential to preserving the trail experience are undergoing intense development pressure. The “Complete America’s Great Trails Act” or HR 1912 offered in 2009, is bipartisan legislation that would provide incentives for private landowners to preserve their land. The bill requires no direct spending from the federal government, gives a significant tax break to willing landowners, and helps ensure that America continues to benefit from our incredible trail resources. Visit American Hiking Society for additional information on this important legislation.