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The laws vary from state to state. In ME, where we have large tracks of undeveloped land used for forestry, state law holds the landowner harmless if he opens the land for recreational use. People using the land are responsible for their own injuries, . The law states you must have permission of the landowner for your activity and in the case of a marked ATV bike trail, permission is implied as long as you remain on the marked trail. That said if a landowner permits access and then intentially creates an unatural hazard, such running a cable across a marked and open trail, there is potential liability. Despite this exception, the law has held up well over the years.

Landowners permitting use of their land to others is a very old tradition in ME, unfortunately increasingly under attack as suburban sprawl and those folks "from away" don't understand the legal protection the state provides.

This links to a FAQ page on Maine liability law.
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