Timber trespass

Since a lot of problems occur where there are wood lots that are either accessed by or crossed by discontinued roads, I thought it might be useful to include statutes that relate to timber trespass.  Maine ROADWays strives to work with people on both sides of this issue - that is, we support responsible loggers whose access to their wood lot is subject to damage by others, and we also support residents whose home access is threatened when the road is also used for logging.  We find that when the two groups work together amicably, there is a much better chance of a mutually agreeable end result.  Since "good fences make good neighbors," knowing the boundaries and ground rules will go a long way towards keeping conflicts to a minimum.  And as with many of the statutes ROADWays deals with, they aren't all found in one place, but are scattered between Title 14, Court Procedure, and Title 17, Crimes.  So to make them easier to find, here they are in one place.

Title 14 §7551-B. Trespass damages
1. Prohibition.  A person who intentionally enters the land of another without permission and causes damage to property is liable to the owner in a civil action if the person:
A. Damages or throws down any fence, bar or gate; leaves a gate open; breaks glass; damages any road, drainage ditch, culvert, bridge, sign or paint marking; or does other damage to any structure on property not that person's own; or [1995, c. 585, §1 (NEW).]
B. Throws, drops, deposits, discards, dumps or otherwise disposes of litter, as defined in Title 17, section 2263, subsection 2, in any manner or amount, on property not that person's own. [1995, c. 585, §1 (NEW).]
1995, c. 585, §1 (NEW) .]
2. Liability.  If the damage to the property is caused intentionally, the person is liable to the owner for 2 times the owner's actual damages plus any additional costs recoverable under subsection 3, paragraphs B and C. If the damage to the property is not caused intentionally, the person is liable to the owner for the owner's actual damages plus any additional costs recoverable under subsection 3, paragraphs B and C.
1995, c. 585, §1 (NEW) .]
3. Damages recoverable.  The owner's damages include:
A. Actual damages, as measured by subsection 4; [1995, c. 585, §1 (NEW).]
B. Costs the owner may incur if the damage results in a violation of any federal, state or local law or ordinance and, as a result, the owner becomes the subject of an enforcement proceeding. These costs include attorney's fees, costs and the value of the owner's time spent on involvement in the enforcement proceeding; and [1995, c. 585, §1 (NEW).]
C. Reasonable attorney's fees for preparing the claim and bringing the court action under this section plus costs. [1995, c. 585, §1 (NEW).]
1995, c. 585, §1 (NEW) .]
4. Measure of damages.  For damage to property under subsection 1, paragraph A, the owner's damages may be measured either by the replacement value of the damaged property or by the cost of repairing the damaged property. For damages for disposing of litter, the owner's damages include the direct costs associated with properly disposing of the litter, including obtaining permits, and the costs associated with any site remediation work undertaken as a result of the litter.
1995, c. 585, §1 (NEW) .]
5. Other actions barred.  A recovery from a defendant under this section bars an action to recover damages under section 7552 from that defendant for the same specific damage.
1995, c. 585, §1 (NEW) .]
SECTION HISTORY
1995, c. 585, §1 (NEW).

Title 14 §7552. Injury to land, forest products or agricultural products

1. Definitions.  As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
A. "Agricultural product" means crops produced and livestock raised as a result of cultivating the soil and harvesting. Agricultural products include, but are not limited to, vegetables, fruit, forages, grain, nuts, berries, flowers, ornamental plants, nursery crops, milk, dairy products, eggs, domestic livestock and other products in varying degrees of preparation. Agricultural products also include the soil amendments and by-products that are used in cultivation.[1995, c. 450, §2 (NEW).]
B. "Christmas tree" and "evergreen boughs" have the same meanings as provided in Title 12, section 8841. [1995, c. 450, §2 (NEW).]
C. "Forest products" means logs, pulpwood, veneer, bolt wood, wood chips, stud wood, poles, pilings, biomass, fuel wood, Christmas trees, maple syrup, nursery products used for ornamental purposes, wreaths, evergreen boughs or cones or other seed products. [1995, c. 450, §2 (NEW).]
D. When there is damage to public property, the term "owner" may include a suitable official authorized to act on behalf of the public entity.
For damage to a monument or mark under subsection 2, paragraph C, "owner" may include the entity for whose benefit the monument or mark is maintained. [1995, c. 450, §2 (NEW).]
E. "Professional services" may include:
(1) The damage estimate of a licensed professional forester;
(2) A boundary survey;
(3) A title opinion; and
(4) Attorney's fees for preparing the claim and bringing a court action. [1995, c. 450, §2 (NEW).]
1995, c. 450, §2 (NEW) .]
2. Prohibitions.  Without permission of the owner a person may not:
A. Cut down, destroy, damage or carry away any forest product, ornamental or fruit tree, agricultural product, stones, gravel, ore, goods or property of any kind from land not that person's own; or [1995, c. 585, §3 (AMD).]
B. [1995, c. 585, §3 (RP).]
C. Disturb, remove or destroy any lawfully established transit point, reference point, stake, plug, hub, guardstake, bench mark, pipe, iron, concrete post, stone post or other monument of any railroad, highway, public utility or other engineering location or survey or any such monument marking the bounds of public or private property. [1995, c. 450, §2 (NEW).]
1995, c. 585, §3 (AMD) .]
3. Measure of damages.  This subsection governs the measurement of damages resulting from a violation of subsection 2.
A. When agricultural or forest products have been destroyed or carried away, the owner may recover as damages either the value of the lost products themselves or the diminution in value of the real estate as a whole resulting from the violation, whichever is greater. [1997, c. 214, §1 (AMD).]
B. Except within areas that have been zoned for residential use, for lost trees the owner may choose to claim:
(1) The market value of the lost trees;
(2) The diminution in value of the real estate as a whole resulting from the violation;
(3) The forfeiture amounts determined in Title 17, section 2510, subsections 2 and 3; or
(4) If the lost trees are ornamental or fruit trees, the costs of replacing, replanting and restoring the trees with trees of comparable size and the same or equivalent species and the actual costs for cleanup of damage caused during the cutting.
In addition, the owner's damages for lost trees that are not ornamental or fruit trees may include the costs for regeneration of the stand in accordance with Title 12, section 8869.
The court may reduce the damages awarded for good cause shown when the cutting of trees was done negligently or without fault.
Public utilities, as defined in Title 35-A, section 102, and contractors performing work for public utilities are not liable for damages under this paragraph for lost trees the trimming or removal of which is necessary to provide safe and reliable service to the customers of the public utilities. [2015, c. 241,§1 (RPR).]
B-1. Within areas that have been zoned for residential use, for lost trees the owner may choose to claim:
(1) The costs of replacing, replanting and restoring the trees with trees of comparable size and the same or equivalent species and the actual costs for cleanup of damage caused during the cutting;
(2) The market value of the lost trees;
(3) The diminution in value of the real estate as a whole resulting from the violation; or
(4) The forfeiture amounts determined in Title 17, section 2510, subsections 2 and 3.
Public utilities, as defined in Title 35-A, section 102, and contractors performing work for public utilities are not liable for damages under this paragraph for lost trees the trimming or removal of which is necessary to provide safe and reliable service to the customers of the public utilities. [2015, c. 241,§2 (NEW).]
C. When a monument or marker has been disturbed, removed or destroyed as prohibited in subsection 2, paragraph C, the owner's damages may include the cost of engineering and surveyor services necessary to reestablish a monument or marker and its proper location. [1997, c. 214, §1 (AMD).]
2015, c. 241, §§1, 2 (AMD) .]
4. Damages recoverable.  Damages are recoverable as follows.
A. A person who negligently or without fault violates subsection 2 is liable to the owner for 2 times the owner's damages as measured under subsection 3 or $250, whichever is greater. [1995, c. 585, §3 (AMD).]
B. A person who intentionally or knowingly violates subsection 2 is liable to the owner for 3 times the owner's damages as measured under subsection 3 or $500, whichever is greater. [1995, c. 585, §3 (AMD).]
C. In addition to the damages recoverable under paragraphs A and B, a person who violates subsection 2 is also liable to the owner for the costs the owner may incur if the violation results in a violation of any federal, state or local law or ordinance and, as a result, the owner becomes the subject of an enforcement proceeding. These costs include attorney's fees, costs and the value of the owner's time spent on involvement in the enforcement proceeding.[1995, c. 585, §3 (NEW).]
D. A person who with malice violates subsection 2 is subject to punitive damages in addition to the damages under paragraphs A, B and C. [2015, c. 241, §3 (NEW).]
2015, c. 241, §3 (AMD) .]
5. Costs and fees.  In addition to damages, interest and costs, the owner may also recover from the person who violates subsection 2 the reasonable costs of professional services necessary for determining damages and proving the claim as long as the person first has written notice or actual knowledge that a claim is being asserted.
2015, c. 241, §4 (AMD) .]
6. Offer of settlement.  At any time after the violation but more than 10 days before trial begins, the person who violated subsection 2 may make a written offer to settle the owner's claim.
A. For such an offer to be valid, it must by its terms remain open for at least 10 days and the owner must first be provided with liability and damage information that is:
(1) Available to the person and not reasonably available to the owner; and
(2) Necessary or pertinent to an evaluation of the owner's claim. [1995, c. 450, §2 (NEW).]
B. Notwithstanding the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 68, any offer not paid within 10 days of its acceptance is void for purposes of this subsection but may be specifically enforced by the owner, if the owner so elects. [1995, c. 450, §2 (NEW).]
C. If the owner does not accept the offer, the owner may not recover any interest, costs or professional fees incurred following the date of the offer unless the owner later proves that the value of the claim, at the time the offer was made, exceeded the amount of the offer. [1995, c. 450, §2 (NEW).]
1995, c. 450, §2 (NEW) .]
7. Issues of fact.  The court sitting without a jury shall resolve issues of fact arising under subsections 5 and 6.
1995, c. 450, §2 (NEW) .]
8. Other actions barred.  A recovery from a defendant under this section bars an action to recover damages under section 7551-B from that defendant for the same specific damage.
1995, c. 585, §4 (NEW) .]
SECTION HISTORY
1977, c. 313, §1 (AMD)1983, c. 362, §2 (AMD)1983, c. 507, §7 (AMD)1983, c. 816, §A5 (RPR)1989, c. 555, §13 (AMD).1995, c. 450, §2 (RPR)1995, c. 585, §§2-4 (AMD)1997, c. 214, §1 (AMD)1999, c. 339, §1 (AMD)2015, c. 241, §§1-4 (AMD).

Title 14 §7552-A. Land on which 10 acres or more of wood is to be cut

Any person who authorizes the cutting of timber or wood on the person's own property, when the cutting involves an area of 10 or more acres, shall clearly mark any property lines that are within 200 feet of the area to be cut. If any such person fails to clearly mark such property lines and if the person or persons who are authorized to cut then cut timber or wood on abutting land without the authorization of the owner of that land, the person who failed to mark the person's property lines is liable in a civil action, in double damages, to that owner of the abutting land. These damages are in addition to any damages to which the owner of the abutting land may be entitled under section 7552. [1995, c. 450, §3 (AMD).]
SECTION HISTORY
1975, c. 253, (NEW)1977, c. 313, §2 (RPR)1995, c. 450, §3 (AMD).

Title 17 §2510. Unlawful cutting of trees

1. Unlawful cutting.  Any person who in fact cuts down or fells any tree without the consent of the owner of the property on which the tree stands commits a civil violation for which the forfeitures provided in this section may be adjudged. Proof of a culpable state of mind is not required. The cutting down or felling of any tree by the following are exempt from this section:
A. The Department of Transportation in the performance of activities under Title 23, section 701; [1981, c. 355, (NEW).]
B. Public utilities in maintaining adequate facilities in emergencies in compliance with Title 35-A, section 301; and [1997, c. 152, §1 (AMD).]
C. Municipal employees, persons contracting with a municipality or other legitimate agents of a municipality acting within the course and scope of their employment or performing volunteer work for the municipality removing street trees or blown down trees or in emergencies. [1997, c. 152, §1(AMD).]
D. [1997, c. 152, §1 (RP).]
1997, c. 152, §1 (AMD) .]
2. Forfeitures.  The following forfeitures may be adjudged for each tree over 2 inches in diameter that has been cut or felled:
A. If the tree is no more than 6 inches in diameter, a forfeiture of $25; [1981, c. 355, (NEW).]
B. If the tree is over 6 inches and up to 10 inches in diameter, a forfeiture of $50; [1997, c. 152, §2 (AMD).]
C. If the tree is over 10 inches and up to 14 inches in diameter, a forfeiture of $75; [1997, c. 152, §2 (AMD).]
D. If the tree is over 14 inches and up to 18 inches in diameter, a forfeiture of $100; [1997, c. 152, §2 (AMD).]
E. If the tree is over 18 inches and up to 22 inches in diameter, a forfeiture of $125; and [1997, c. 152, §2 (AMD).]
F. If the tree is greater than 22 inches in diameter, a forfeiture of $150. [1981, c. 355, (NEW).]
1997, c. 152, §2 (AMD) .]
3. Diameter.  For the purposes of determining the forfeiture, the diameter of a tree shall be the diameter of the tree stump remaining or the diameter of the tree at 4 1/2 feet from the ground if the remaining stump is higher than that distance.
1981, c. 355, (NEW) .]
4. Restitution.  The court shall inquire of the prosecutor or the owner of the property on which the tree was cut down or felled the extent of the owner's financial loss. With the owner's consent, the court shall order restitution when appropriate on the basis of an adequate factual foundation. The order of restitution must designate the amount of restitution to be paid and the person or persons to whom the restitution must be paid. Restitution ordered under this subsection is in addition to any forfeitures adjudged under subsection 2; except that at the request of the prosecutor, the court may suspend all or a portion of the forfeiture adjudged under subsection 2 and apply it to restitution to the property owner under this section.
Any restitution ordered and paid must be deducted from the amount of any judgment awarded in a civil action brought by the owner against the offender based on the same facts.
2003, c. 540, §1 (AMD) .]
5. Liability for conduct of another.  A person commits the civil violation in subsection 1 even if the person did not personally cut down or fell the tree if the person is legally accountable for the conduct of another person who violates subsection 1. A person is legally accountable for the conduct of another person if:
A. The person causes another person to violate subsection 1; or [1997, c. 152, §3 (NEW).]
B. The person solicits another person to commit the civil violation or aids, agrees to aid or attempts to aid another person in planning or committing the civil violation. [1997, c. 152, §3 (NEW).]
1997, c. 152, §3 (NEW) .]
SECTION HISTORY
1981, c. 355, (NEW)1987, c. 10, (AMD)1987, c. 141, §B14 (AMD)1995, c. 450, §5 (AMD)1997, c. 152, §§1-3 (AMD)2003, c. 540, §1 (AMD).

Title 17 §2511. Harvesting timber near property line

1. Definitions.  As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
A. "Established property line" means a line demarcated by monuments, signs, markings, pins, reference points or other markers that denotes a change in ownership between abutting properties. These established property line markers must have been placed upon mutual agreement of the abutting landowners, based on historical physical evidence of a preexisting boundary line, or by a licensed professional surveyor pursuant to Title 32, chapter 141.[2013, c. 180, §2 (AMD)2013, c. 180, §6 (AFF).]
B. "Harvester" means a person, firm, company, corporation or other legal entity that harvests or contracts to harvest a forest product. [2003, c. 550,§1 (NEW).]
C. "Landowner representative" means a person, firm, company, corporation or other legal entity representing the landowner in timber sales or land management. [2003, c. 550, §1 (NEW).]
D. "Line tree" means a tree whose main stem or trunk straddles an established property line and that is blazed or painted to indicate the location of the established property line. [2003, c. 550, §1 (NEW).]
E. "Timber harvesting" means the cutting or removal of timber for the primary purpose of selling or processing forest products. [2003, c. 550, §1(NEW).]
2013, c. 180, §2 (AMD)2013, c. 180, §6 (AFF) .]
2. Prohibitions.  The following acts are prohibited.
A. A landowner or landowner representative who authorizes timber harvesting or a harvester who in fact harvests timber shall clearly mark with flagging or other temporary and visible means any established property lines that are within 200 feet of the area to be harvested. The marking of property lines must be completed prior to commencing timber harvesting. A person who fails to mark property lines in accordance with this paragraph commits a civil violation for which a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $1,000 may be adjudged. [2003, c. 550, §1 (NEW).]
B. A landowner, landowner representative or harvester who authorizes the timber harvesting or in fact harvests a line tree without first obtaining permission from the abutting landowner commits a civil violation for which a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $1,000 may be adjudged. [2003,c. 550, §1 (NEW).]
2003, c. 550, §1 (NEW) .]
3. Exemptions.  The following are exempt from this section:
A. The Department of Transportation in the performance of activities under Title 23, section 701; [2003, c. 550, §1 (NEW).]
B. Public utilities engaged in maintaining adequate facilities in compliance with Title 35-A, section 301; [2003, c. 550, §1 (NEW).]
C. Municipal employees, persons contracting with a municipality or other legitimate agents of a municipality acting within the course and scope of their employment or performing volunteer work for the municipality by removing trees obstructing a public way or fallen trees or in emergencies; and[2003, c. 550, §1 (NEW).]
D. Timber harvesting performed on a parcel of land that is 5 acres or less. [2003, c. 550, §1 (NEW).]
2003, c. 550, §1 (NEW) .]
SECTION HISTORY
2003, c. 550, §1 (NEW)2013, c. 180, §2 (AMD)2013, c. 180, §6 (AFF).

Title 17 §2512. Failure to pay for trees harvested

1. Definitions.  As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
A. "Forest products" means logs, pulpwood, veneer, bolt wood, wood chips, stud wood, poles, pilings, biomass fuel wood, fuel wood or other products commonly known as forest products, but does not include Christmas trees, maple syrup, nursery products used for ornamental purposes, wreaths, bough material, cones or other seed crops. [2005, c. 546, §1 (NEW).]
B. "Handling or processing facility" means sawmills; bolter mills; shingle mills; veneer mills; fence pole and piling making operations; pulp and paper mills; wafer board, particle board and plywood mills; whole tree chippers; commercial fuel wood processors; custom wood processing mills; and log yards established to accumulate logs awaiting shipment to these facilities. [2005, c. 546, §1 (NEW).]
C. "Harvest operation" means the harvest of forest products on land in a single municipality or township. Land harvested need not be contiguous, and more than one harvester may work a harvest operation. [2005, c. 546, §1 (NEW).]
2005, c. 546, §1 (NEW) .]
2. Payment required within 45 days.  Absent a written contract that indicates different payment terms between the landowner and the person conducting a harvest operation, the person conducting the harvest operation shall provide to the landowner full payment for each truckload of harvested forest products transported to a handling or processing facility within 45 days of delivery to the handling or processing facility. In accordance with Title 10, section 2364-A, subsection 2, paragraph G, the person conducting the harvest operation shall provide to the landowner a copy of the measurement tally sheet or stumpage sheet for each truckload of forest products transported to a handling or processing facility when the person conducting the harvest operation pays the landowner.
2005, c. 546, §1 (NEW) .]
3. Penalties.  The following penalties apply.
A. A person who violates subsection 2 commits a civil violation for which a fine of not more than $1,000 may be adjudged. [2005, c. 546, §1(NEW).]
B. A person who violates subsection 2 after having been adjudicated as having violated subsection 2 within the previous 5 years commits a civil violation for which a fine of not more than $2,000 may be adjudged. [2005, c. 546, §1 (NEW).]
C. A person who violates subsection 2 after having been adjudicated as having committed 2 or more civil violations under subsection 2 within the previous 5 years commits a Class E crime. Violation of this paragraph is a strict liability crime as defined in Title 17-A, section 34, subsection 4-A. [2005, c. 546, §1 (NEW).]
D. In addition to any other penalties imposed in this subsection, the court may order a person adjudicated as having violated this section to provide upon request to any forest ranger of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Bureau of Forestry copies of measurement tally sheets for subsequent harvest operations being conducted by the violator for a period not to exceed one year. [2005, c. 546, §1 (NEW)2011, c. 657, Pt. W, §§5, 7 (REV)2013, c. 405, Pt. A, §23 (REV).]
2005, c. 546, §1 (NEW)2011, c. 657, Pt. W, §§5, 7 (REV)2013, c. 405, Pt. A, §23 (REV) .]
4. Restitution.  In addition to any penalties imposed pursuant to subsection 3 and, when appropriate, in accordance with the requirements of Title 17-A, chapter 54, the court shall order restitution to the landowner on the basis of an adequate factual foundation. The amount of restitution may be determined by using the measured volume of the harvested forest products as listed on the measurement tally sheet or stumpage sheet in accordance with Title 10, section 2364-A, subsection 2 and by the terms of the sales contract according to the measurement procedures set forth in Title 10, section 2363-A that are applicable to a sale of wood.
Any restitution ordered and paid must be deducted from the amount of any restitution awarded in a civil action brought by the owner or the State against the offender based on the same facts.
2005, c. 546, §1 (NEW) .]
5. Exemptions.  The following are exempt from this section:
A. The Department of Transportation in the performance of activities under Title 23, section 701; [2005, c. 546, §1 (NEW).]
B. Public utilities in maintaining adequate facilities in emergencies in compliance with Title 35-A, section 301; and [2005, c. 546, §1 (NEW).]
C. Municipal employees, persons contracting with a municipality or other legitimate agents of a municipality acting within the course and scope of their employment or performing volunteer work for the municipality removing street trees or fallen trees or in emergencies. [2005, c. 546, §1 (NEW).]
2005, c. 546, §1 (NEW) .]
SECTION HISTORY
2005, c. 546, §1 (NEW)2011, c. 657, Pt. W, §§5, 7 (REV)2013, c. 405, Pt. A, §23 (REV).
RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR TIMBER HARVESTING
If you really want to delve into this subject in detail, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry has a publication that details the Rules and Regulations for Timber Harvesting.  Of special interest is the section on standards for timber harvesting and related activities in shoreland zones.  You can find it through the link above, or go there directly by clicking HERE.


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