Tim you bring up some really valid points.
I worked for 8 years as a land surveyor in Alaska. While I never got registered I certainly picked up a lot of info while in the business. I also loaded up on boundary law while in college.
While every state has different laws, many road right-of-way and utility easement issues are very similar between the states.
Most rural landowners have some sort of utility easement running through their property, usually (but not always) parallel along a public road. The easement is an agreement entered into by the owners of the property with various utility companies to allow access to and through their property. It is very different from a road right-of-way or a section line right-of-way. It does NOT allow access of any other kind. Just because a ditch has a powerline running through it does NOT make it legal for you to snowmobile through it. Nor does an easement with a service road down the middle of a piece of property constitute a public road or trail. It is very, very rare that a utility easement is granted within the road right-of-way. It's pretty safe to say that us that ride powerlines are most likely trespassing on somebody's property.
If your state, like the State of Alaska does, has a law on the books about legal ORV travel within state road right-of-ways, but not on the road surface, it is up to the riders and the clubs to ascertain where that right-of-way extends to, and private property begins. Some roads, like those in my rural subdivision, do not allow enough room for sleds to ride and a place to plow snow. That's tough luck, it doesn't mean you can ride your sled through somebody's yard, or even on the berm - if it's on their property. I am thankful that our Borough (county) has had the wisdom to allow ORV traffic on Borough roads as long as they follow traffic laws. It certainly eases conflicts when we can just hop on the road and bypass any trouble spots.
It is imperative that we teach our children to ride only on public property and respect those that do not like snowmobiles on their property, as well as educate our selves and others about private property conflicts that come up.
Alaska has had the wisdom to protect private property owners with a law to protect them from being sued if somebody is injured on their property, even if the private property owner allows the trail to go through their property. It's a great law for snowmobilers and landowners alike, and I'd encourage any local club to contact their State representative to get a similar law passed in their state.