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February 20, 2024

Bill to Improve Access to Outdoor Recreation Areas Passes Committee

DENVER, CO –  The House Judiciary Committee today passed legislation to expand public access to hiking, biking, climbing and other outdoor recreation on private lands. SB24-058, sponsored by Representatives Brianna Titone and Shannon Bird, would update the Colorado Recreational Use Statute to protect landowners from personal injury lawsuits. 

“From hiking and biking to backcountry skiing and backpacking, Colorado is known for its elite outdoor recreation,” said Rep. Brianna Titone, D-Arvada. “This bill makes it easier for Colorado landowners to open their land to those eager to explore the great outdoors and maybe bag a 14er along the way.” 

“Many of Colorado’s world-class hiking trails and other outdoor recreation areas are privately owned, and although landowners are willing to allow outdoor recreation on their land, our current laws make it difficult for them to do so, ” said Rep. Shannon Bird, D-Westminster. “This bill updates Colorado Recreational Use Statute to protect landowners and expand access to the beautiful trails and outdoor space that makes Colorado unique.”

SB24-058, passed committee by a vote of 9-1, and works to improve access to privately-owned outdoor recreation sites by protecting landowners from personal injury lawsuits. This bill would require landowners to display and maintain warning signs to disclose any dangerous conditions on the property that could lead to injury or death. The bill does not limit a private landowner from imposing restrictions or prohibitions on the use of their land.

If passed, landowners who properly display warning signs would not face personal injury lawsuits. Those who access private land for recreation purposes must stay on designated trails, routes, areas or roadways to avoid trespassing charges. 

This bill aims to improve public access to outdoor recreation sites, including hiking and backpacking trails, popular long-distance races, mountain biking, backcountry skiing and more. In 2019, a Colorado court decision prompted the closure of many privately owned outdoor recreation sites, including popular 14ers, after property owners feared costly personal injury lawsuits.

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