Land Ownership, Liability, and the Law in North Carolina

A change in North Carolina law makes it possible for landowners to open their lands with less concern about liability in case of an accident or mishap. It is now possible for landowners to allow the public on their property for educational and recreational reasons, when no fee is charged. Under these circumstances, a landowner is required to provide the duty of care owed to a trespasser. The following note explains the major laws impacting landowners’ liability in North Carolina and the responsibilities landowners have for invited and uninvited users of their property.

Maintaining the Forestry Exemption Under the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act

The North Carolina Sedimentation Pollution Control Act was passed in 1973. Its purpose is to prevent sediment from reaching streams by requiring the installation and maintenance of adequate sediment control measures during site-disturbing activities. The initial law provided a blanket exemption for agriculture and forestry. The 1989 North Carolina legislature amended the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act. The amendment maintains the forestry exemption but only on the condition that site-disturbing forestry activities be conducted in accordance with Forest Practices Guidelines.

Practicing Forestry Under Local Regulations

As North Carolina’s population expands, more and more forestland disappears, converted to residential, retail, industrial, and other nonforestry uses. The challenge of managing conflicts between forestry and nonforestry uses falls to local governments, especially as trees and other vegetative buffers are cleared. As trees are removed, perceived and real environmental impacts may bring about restrictive or prescriptive land use regulations. This publication examines tree protection regulations, zoning, and other ordinances. Guidance is offered on how to practice forestry under existing regulations and on how involvement in the community can retain forestry as a viable land use.

Recreational Access and Liability: What Landowners Should Know

Increased demands for recreation by the public have prompted many landowners to develop recreational access programs, such as fee hunting operations, which provide limited access to the public and help supplement landowner income. One of the primary concerns of landowners who are interested in establishing a recreational operation like fee hunting is liability.

Rules, Regulations and Laws Affecting Wildlife Management

For some private forest and farm owners, complying with government mandated rules and regulations and fearing legal penalties for failure to do so can cause a good deal of anguish. In most cases, private landowners are more than willing to comply with regulations that protect their land. Unfortunately, because of the complexity of regulations, many landowners are left confused. Adding to this confusion are the continuing changes to regulations. The information presented here will address important laws that affect private landowners, agencies that administer the laws, and the responsibility of landowners under the law.

Zoning and Land Use Regulation of Forestry

This publication discusses how zoning and land use regulations impact the practice of forestry in North Carolina. The publication also explains planning jurisdictions, components of a zoning ordinance, and where to go for more information.

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