August 14, 2017.
As outdoor recreational activities increase, so does the fear of lawsuits brought on by injured trail users. Having a land free of charge for recreational purposes puts risks on the landowners, trail builders, and individual volunteers that maintain the trailheads.
Recreational Use Statutes were created to encourage private and public landowners to make their land available, free of charge, for recreational activities such as hiking, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, swimming, etc. making it that they are less likely to be liable for injuries that may occur naturally or during artificial conditions to a recreational user. All states have Recreational Statues in place and will vary in language and often yield different results when interpreting terms, but generally, a landowner does not owe a duty to upkeep their property or warn of dangerous conditions for the safety of use. In some situations, these statues have been expanded to include publicly managed areas such as state parks.
Below is a recent court case on Trail Immunity for a city in California.
eUpdate: Recreational Immunity
Information courtesy of Scott Buckholz, Esquire, Dummit, Bucholz & Trapp
Remember, when exploring the great outdoors, accidents and injuries can happen. These statutes are in place so that private and public landowners are immune from any liability for injuries suffered by any person that enters the land for recreational purposes, free of charge. Owners should use reasonable care to keep areas safe, however, they have no duty to warn users of the conditions of the land.