Maryland Trails Clearinghouse & Directory
Legal Issues and Sample Documents
Trail Easement Language:
The most traditional tool for conserving private land, a “conservation easement” (also known as a conservation restriction) is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. It allows landowners to continue to own and use their land, and they can also sell it or pass it on to heirs. Read more on the Land Trust Alliance website.
This website, managed by the Pennsylvania Land trust Organization, includes Trail Easement Agreement and Grant of Trail Easement documents, which are used widely in and outside of Pennsylvania.
Although the process of donating a conservation easement is fairly straightforward, you should consult your attorney and financial advisor or accountant early on for advice on tax issues and general review of the legal documents. The time and resources spent on this process are well worth it. In the end, you will create a permanent legacy that will forever protect your land.
Private Property Owners Liability Protection In Maryland
There is a law in the state that says private property owners can provide access as long as they do not charge and they are free from liability. DNR uses easements for trails. Recreational use clause has been tried and upheld in Maryland. Appalachian Trail Conference has shown that easements can be provided over land. Park City, Utah has trails throughout their community so there is no reason this cannot be done in the Deep Creek Lake area. Park City created enticements to the land owners to encourage them to do this. (needs citation)
It has become more common for trail groups to request access to privately held lands for trail use. Most landowners of private and public lands want to grant permission, but they can have questions concerning their risks, liability, and responsibility. State statutes assure landowners protection for allowing access, creating new opportunities for recreation.