Many landowners support the idea of improving family-friendly recreation and conserving the rivers in their community. However, initial concerns about property rights, liability, trash and other management issues are common.
Experience and numerous studies have shown these issues to be more perceived problems than actual problems. By appropriately planning, designing and managing for river access, your community’s value natural, cultural and historic resources can be proactively protected.
It is not unusual for landowners to have initial concerns about their land being taken or otherwise reduced in value. They may fear that a Blue Trail will impose restrictions that will somehow limit future opportunities to sell or develop land for profit.
However, the process for creating Blue Trails is community driven and completely voluntary. Each community is distinct with different goals and opportunities, so each community must determine for itself the types of use, character, and activities for their Blue Trail. Landowners are a critical partner in this effort.
Blue Trails do not establish land use control on private lands or impose additional or more restrictive environmental regulations. Trails and riverside greenways increase the natural beauty of communities and they have been shown to bolster property values and make adjacent properties easier to sell.
In thinking about whether to support a Blue Trail along your land, it’s only natural for concerns about liability to surface. You may wonder, “what if someone gets hurt? Can I be sued? Does my insurance cover this?”
Fortunately, nearly every state has a recreational use law designed to limit liability for landowners who open their property for free public recreational use.
To learn more about your state’s recreation use statute see: Liability.