Kirk Maag: Don’t Get Locked Out! Securing Access to Your Property


Environmental and natural resources attorney Kirk Maag authored an article for Western Forester titled “Don’t Get Locked Out: Securing Access with Easements.” In the article, Maag discusses the ins and outs of the easement — an interest in property owned by another that entitles the easement holder to use the property for a particular purpose without interference. The article addresses easements affecting timberlands, but Maag notes that similar considerations are also relevant to accessing farmland and other types of private property.

Maag points out that because easements are often long-term agreements, care should be taken in their drafting. He lists a number of specifics that are important to consider during drafting, including:

  • Type – benefit a specific parcel of land vs. unrelated to any particular parcel of property,
  • Use - current and future access needs, and limits on the rights of use,
  • Location – full legal description of property,
  • Payment – if any taken for granting the easement,
  • Duration – permanent or for a limited duration,
  • Maintenance, repairs and damages – who is responsible for,
  • Improvements – is grantee authorized to make improvements,
  • Tax – how apportioned between grantor and grantee, and
  • Remedies – how any conflicts are addressed.

Maag notes that though recording an easement with the county where the affected property is located is not strictly necessary, doing so ensures the easement agreement is enforceable against subsequent owners of the property.

He concludes, “A properly drafted and recorded easement agreement will secure long-term, enforceable access to forestlands.”

Read “Don’t Get Locked Out: Securing Access with Easements,” published in the January/February/March 2018 edition of Western Forester.

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