April 29th, 2012 05:01 PM
Did I do something wrong here?
I moved to western MA last summer from Minnesota. There are some trails in the woods behind the apartment that my wife and I rent. The trails lead out to a paved bike path that runs along an old railroad corridor. The trails leading to this paved bike path are a few miles long at most and cross over multiple properties along the way, none of which have any "no trespassing" signs posted.
Last weekend, I decided to go out and do some trail maintenance on these trails... nothing crazy... just removing some dead and downed trees from along the trail while also clearing the trail of any overgrowth along the way. While out there, I ran into a neighbor who I had never met. He was an older guy in his 60's. He got pretty upset with me for being out there doing maintenance on the trail. I also ran into a few other people from the neighborhood who were using the trails and they were pretty excited that I was out there doing maintenance. So I just kind of forgot about the older guy.
Well today, I was riding out there. I use these trails as a link to some other riding areas that exist a few miles down the paved bike trail. When I was riding, I had a small crash. As I was resting, the old guy from last week came hiking down the trail. When he saw me with my bike, he got very angry and started yelling at me. He actually told me that he forbid bikes on this trail, even though it was not his property. The trail does actually go through part of his property but the part of the trail that he encountered me on was not his property. And when you actually do get to his property, he has no signs posted about trespassing. Actually, none of the properties that this trail goes through have any signs posted. But he was threatening me with lawyers and stuff and told me that the next time he catches me out there, he will do something about it. Keep in mind, this whole confrontation happened on the portion of the trail behind my apartment building... not his land.
So I have a couple questions here. First, did I do anything wrong? Obviously, I know that you can't just walk onto someone's property (posted or not) and start cutting down trees and building trails. But I was just doing some basic trail maintenance.
Second, are mountain bikes allowed to ride trails that exist on property that is not posted for trespassing, especially when other trail users use those trails (hikers, runners, skiers, snowmobiles)?
Third, should I continue to ride these trails and just avoid the portion that goes through his property or should I just not ride any of the trails anymore?
Thanks for reading and thanks for any insight.