Municipalities may permit snowmobiles to drive on a Class IV, Class V, or Class VI highway where the municipality does not maintain the road for winter use by conventional motor vehicles.
Alternatively, the municipality may “authorize dual use of such highway by snowmobiles and by those conventional highway vehicles that are being used solely for access to property abutting such highway.” The statute is not clear whether this alternate power implicitly gives a municipality the power to permit only snowmobiles on Class VI roads, i.e., to exclude conventional vehicles used by owners of abutting land. If it did, those abutting landowners would be deprived of access, thus rendering their real estate practically worthless during the winter. Such a deprivation of property rights usually can be done only after compensation to the landowner.
The operator or owner, or both, of a snowmobile shall be responsible and held accountable to the owner of any lands where trees, shrubs, roads, or other property have been damaged as a result of travel over the owner’s premises by the snowmobile. RSA 215-C:34, I(a)(1).
For more information, please contact Paul Alfano at (603) 226-1188 or firstname.lastname@example.org.