University of Vermont AAHS

New Hampshire Recreational Use Statute and Trail Statute

NEW HAMPSHIRE REVISED STATUTES
TITLE XVIII. FISH AND GAME
CHAPTER 212. PROPAGATION OF FISH AND GAME LIABILITY OF LANDOWNERS

 

212:34. Duty of Care

I. An owner, lessee or occupant of premises owes no duty of care to keep such premises safe for entry or use by others for hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, horseback riding, water sports, winter sports or OHRVs as defined in RSA 215-A, hiking, sightseeing, or removal of fuelwood, or to give any warning of hazardous conditions, uses of, structures, or activities on such premises to persons entering for such purposes, except as provided in paragraph III hereof.

II. An owner, lessee or occupant of premises who gives permission to another to hunt, fish, trap, camp, ride horseback, hike, use OHRVs as defined in RSA 215-A, sightsee upon, or remove fuelwood from, such premises, or use said premises for water sports, or winter sports does not thereby:
(a) Extend any assurance that the premises are safe for such purpose, or
(b) Constitute the person to whom permission has been granted the legal status of an invitee to whom a duty of care is owed, or
(c) Assume responsibility for or incur liability for an injury to person or property caused by any act of such person to whom permission has been granted except as provided in paragraph III hereof.

III. This section does not limit the liability which otherwise exists:
(a) For willful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure or activity; or
(b) For injury suffered in any case where permission to hunt, fish, trap, camp, ride horseback, hike, use for water sports, winter sports or use of OHRVs as defined in RSA 215-A, sightsee, or remove fuelwood was granted for a consideration other than the consideration, if any, paid to said landowner by the state; or
(c) The injury caused by acts of persons to whom permission to hunt, fish, trap, camp, <<+ride horseback, +>>hike, use for water sports, winter sports or use of OHRVs as defined in RSA 215-A, sightsee, or remove fuelwood was granted, to third persons as to whom the person granting permission, or the owner, lessee or occupant of the premises, owed a duty to keep the premises safe or to warn of danger.
 

TITLE XX. TRANSPORTATION
CHAPTER 231-A. MUNICIPAL TRAILS

 

231-A:1 Class A and B Trails.

I. A class A trail shall be a full public right-of-way, of indefinite duration subject to public trail use restrictions. It shall not have the status of a publicly approved street, and shall not be used as a vehicular access for any new building or structure, or for the expansion, enlargement, or increased intensity of use of any existing building or structure. It may, however, be used by the owners of land abutting on such trail, or land served exclusively by such trail, to provide access for such nondevelopment uses as agriculture and forestry, or for access to any building or structure existing prior to its designation as a trail, and such owners' access for such uses shall be exempt from applicable public trail use restrictions, subject only to reasonable time, season and manner regulations imposed by the local governing body. The municipality shall bear no responsibility for maintaining the trail for such uses by abutting owners. Such owners shall, prior to excavation, construction or disturbance of a class A trail, obtain permission from the municipal officers, in the same manner prescribed for highways in RSA 236:9-11.

II. A class B trail shall be a full public right-of-way of indefinite duration subject to public trail use restrictions. It shall not have the status of a publicly approved street, shall not be used as a vehicular access for any new or existing building or structure, and shall not be used by the owners of land served by or abutting on such trail in any manner inconsistent with applicable public trail use restrictions.

  

231-A:2 Reclassification of Highways; Damages.

I. Any class V or VI highway may be reclassified as a class A or class B trail, and any class A trail may be reclassified as a class B trail, by vote of the local legislative body.

II. In accordance with RSA 231:43, no highway of any class which provides the sole access to any land shall be reclassified as a class B trail without the written consent of the owner of that land.

III. Whenever a reclassification is made under this section, any aggrieved landowner may appeal, or may petition for the assessment of damages, in the same manner as in the discontinuance of highways pursuant to RSA 231:48 and 231

 

231-A:3 Reclassification of Trails as Highways.

I. Any class A or class B trail which was previously a class V or class VI highway may be reclassified pursuant to RSA 231:22-a as a class V or class VI highway, and any class B trail may be reclassified as a class A trail, by vote of the local legislative body.

II. No reclassification under this section shall entitle any party to damages.

III. The reclassification of any trail to a class V highway may be made subject to conditions, as in the case of reclassifying as a class VI highway pursuant to RSA 231:22-a.

IV. No trail established by acquisition under RSA 231-A:5 shall be reclassified under this section if such reclassification would violate a use restriction or other provision imposed by deed at the time of acquisition.

 

231-A:4 Public Trail Use Restrictions.

In this chapter "public trail use restrictions" means any restrictions upon use of a trail by the general public. Such restrictions may be imposed by a landowner as a condition of grant or dedication of a trail acquired under RSA 231-A:5, or by vote of the local legislative body or its designee at or subsequent to the time the trail is established, or by the local governing body under RSA 41:11. Such restrictions may include, but are not limited to, prohibition of motor vehicles, prohibition of wheeled vehicles, prohibition of off highway recreational vehicles, or restriction to specified modes of travel such as horse, bicycle, or foot. Such restrictions, if posted using legible signs at entrances to the trail from public highways, or at any property boundaries where new or different restrictions become applicable, shall be enforceable in the same manner as traffic violations as set forth in RSA 265. Any person violating such restrictions shall be guilty of a violation.

 

231-A:5 Acquisition of New Trails.

I. Municipalities shall not use the power of eminent domain to establish trails.

II. A class A or B trail may be established by the local legislative body or its designee over any land previously acquired by the municipality, including land acquired by the conservation commission pursuant to RSA 36-A:4, or town forests established pursuant to RSA 31:110, unless the establishment of such trail would violate any right or interest reserved or retained by a prior grantor or held by a third party.

III. The local legislative body or its designee may acquire, by dedication and acceptance or by gift, purchase, grant or devise:

(a) Any class A or B trail, subject to such public trail use restrictions as may be imposed by deed by the owner or grantor; or

(b) Any lesser interest in land for trail purposes, including but not limited to a revocable easement, revocable license, lease or easement of finite duration, or conservation restriction, subject to such public trail use restrictions and such reserved rights as may be imposed by or agreed upon with the owner or grantor.

IV. A properly established conservation commission may utilize RSA 36-A:4 for the acquisition of trails.

 

231-A:6 Discontinuance.

Any class A or B trail may be discontinued by vote of the town, and such discontinuance shall have the same legal effect as the discontinuance of a public highway, provided however that the discontinuance of a class B trail shall not entitle any owner of land abutting or served by the trail to any damages.

 

231-A:7 Management.

Unless otherwise specified by vote of the local legislative body, or by the terms of a deeded interest affecting the property, the local governing body or its designee shall have supervision over management or maintenance of all trails, including signs. Such management may be delegated to a volunteer of a nonprofit organization or association, or a town committee or commission, by means of a written cooperative agreement.

231-A:8 Liability Limited.

I. All trails established under this chapter shall be deemed to constitute land open without charge for recreational or outdoor educational purposes pursuant to RSA 212:34 and RSA 508:14, I, and the liability of owners, lessees or occupants of land affected by a trail, and of the municipality establishing the trail, shall be limited as set forth in those statutes.

II. The liability of any person performing volunteer management or maintenance activities for or upon any trail established under this chapter, with the prior written approval of the body or organization with supervision over trail management pursuant to RSA 231-A:7, shall be limited as set forth in RSA 508:17, and such management shall not be deemed "care of the organization's premises" under RSA 508:17, IV.

Amended in 2003.
Reviewed by AAHS in July 2001.
Reviewed and updated by AAHS in May 2003.


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