Monday, November 4, 2013

Jackson Ski Touring Foundation Receives Easement

Normally, Ski, Esq. focuses solely on alpine skiing, but we received an interesting press release today from the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation of Jackson, NH. The Foundation successfully negotiated with the Jackson Falls Association, a local condominium association representing 75 landlowners, for an easement to use an historic ski trail which crossed the association's property.
An easement is a non-posessory interest in land. One might conceptualize an easement as the right to use the land of another for a particular purpose - in this case the right to use and maintain a cross country ski trail. The use rights, however, fall short of full ownership. The advantage to an easement is that unlike mere permission to use a piece of property, which permission can be revoked by the landowner generally at will, an easement is recorded in the county's land records and runs with the land. A subsequent purchaser of the property remains bound by the easement. In granting the Foundation an easement, the association has essentially permitted cross country skiing to continue on the property permanently.
Due to concerns about liability, many landowners have dismissed out of hand proposals to grant similar alpine and/or cross-country easements in the past. However, there are basic protections a landowner can put in place which minimize or shift the risk to the holder of the easement. If more landowners actually took the time to explore the options available to them, many would find the risk to be negligible if addressed properly. Insurance, indemnification provisions, and sometimes even state laws can reduce liability concerns.

Homeowners and condominium associations often have large tracts of land which belond to the association members as common space. Granting easements to use portions of that space does not cost an association much, if anything and such costs could be borne by the party seeking the easement. Again, however, many associations will not even consider such arrangements.  Ski, Esq. commends the Jackson Falls Association for  being an exception and for supporting the Granite State's rich ski heritage.
The full press release can be found after the jump.

Press Release from the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation:
JACKSON, NH -- The Jackson Ski Touring Foundation announced today that the owners of the Jackson Falls Townhouse Condominium Association have granted a permanent trail easement for an historic cross country ski trail crossing their land in Jackson, NH. After a unanimous association vote, Dave Roberts, President of the Jackson Falls Association, signed the easement for the protection of the Yodel Trail.

The popular and heavily traveled Yodel Trail crosses their land and connects the Wentworth Golf Course Fields to the Eagle Mountain Golf Course Fields two prominent sections of the vast network of cross country ski trails in Jackson. This easement is one of a series that landowners in this small New Hampshire mountain village have granted to the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation. Jackson Ski Touring is a community based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, chartered to maintain cross country and snowshoe trails and to provide winter recreational and educational opportunities for all.

The Jackson Falls Association is one of 75 landowners who have traditionally given annual permission to the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation to maintain 150 km of cross country ski trails over their properties in this small New Hampshire mountain town. Jackson Ski Touring Foundations 1.1 kilometer Yodel Trail crosses their land. The association joins four other landowners who have signed permanent easements completing the protection of this trail for cross country skiing. Thirteen out of the 75 landowners along the trails have now granted permanent easements.

By granting this permanent easement, the owners of Jackson Falls Townhouses Association recognize the importance of the legacy of Jacksons cross country ski trails in general and the Yodel Trail specifically, said Thom Perkins, Executive Director of the nonprofit Jackson Ski Touring Foundation (JSTF), Land use is so important. Without permission to use the land there would be no skiing. This trail is now fully protected for skiers to use. So, on behalf of the Foundations Board of Directors and the people who ski on these trails, we wish to express our deepest gratitude to the Jackson Falls Townhouse Association owners.

The Foundation maintains more than 150 km of cross-country ski trails, with state-of-the-art grooming. The JSTF also operates under a special-use permit with the White Mountain National Forest. Foundation trails connect with A.M.C. trails in Pinkham Notch and White Mountain National Forest backcountry adventure trails. Detailed information about trails, programs, events, clinics and more can be found at the Foundations web site at Further information can also be obtained by calling 603-383-9355 or 1-800-X-C-SNOWS (1-800-927-6697).

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