Right-of-Way Policy Guidelines
The Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED) has a long-standing policy of not granting permanent rights-of-way to private parties across lands under DRED jurisdiction. To do otherwise would result in having our natural resource land holdings proliferated with roads and/or driveways accessing private developments, houses, etc.
Requests for permanent rights-of-way are considered only when all of the following criteria are met:
- The grant of a right-of-way will provide a clear advantage and demonstrated benefit to the public;
- The grant of a right-of-way would have a minimum impact on the State land;
- The applicant can demonstrate a clear need or hardship and no reasonable alternative exists;
- Neither the State property deed or the acquisition funding source have any legal restrictions on a right-of-way conveyance.
When deeded rights-of-way exist across DRED lands (confirmed by deed research on both the State property and the claimant's), they will be acknowledged within the context of the right-of-way deed description and date and the historical location and use. Requests for relocation or expansion of existing rights-of-way will be considered under the same criteria as new rights-of-way.
Class VI town roads and abandoned town roads are a form of rights-of-way over which DRED has little control or no control. The public has a right to use Class VI town roads that cross DRED lands, subject to the town's right to close (or authorize closure) during mud season. Abutters may, with town authorization, make improvements to Class VI roads to accommodate access to their property. Abandoned town roads continue to be legal access for all abutters to the abandoned road, but are no longer public ways (i.e., they can be blocked or gated to prevent public access if all abutters agree). Abutters may make improvements within the road boundaries to accommodate access to their property.
Requests for temporary rights-of-way for forest product removal may be granted after evaluation of the environmental, recreation and aesthetic impacts on the DRED property and the access alternatives available to the applicant. Requests are granted by short term (less than two years) Special Use Permit with terms and conditions designed to protect the State land. Performance bonds are required to assure restoration of the permit area and compliance with permit conditions.