Liability and Recreational Use Statutes

posted December 11, 2000
by Jason Robertson

American Whitewater has prepared this table with substantial help from the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) and the American Association for Horsemanship Safety (AAHS) as a tool for understanding the differences between state recreational use statutes on a national basis. This table is a valuable tool; however it is not the final word on liability law in America. Exercise your own good judgement when using the material and verify the status of your state statutes independently with an attorney before relying on this data.

What are Recreational Use Statutes and how do they work?

Clarification of terms used in this table.

Credits and Appreciation.


STATE YEAR PASSED DUTY TO KEEP SAFE DUTY TO WARN ASSURANCE OF SAFETY LIABILITY FOR MISCONDUCT WILFUL/ WANTON PROTECTION LOST IF FEE CHARGED
Alabama
Alabama Code §35-15-1 1965, 1981 No No No Yes No, if use of land is non-commercial
Alaska
Alaska Stat. §09.65.200 1980 Not Specified Not Specified Not Specified Yes Yes
Arizona
Arizona Rev. Stat. Ann. §33-1551 1983 Not Specified Not Specified Not Specified Yes Yes
Arkansas
Arkansas Stat. Ann. §18-11-301 1965, 1983, 1991 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
California
California Govt. Code §2-2-3-2-846 1963, 1988 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Colorado
Colorado Rev. Stat. §33-41-101 1963, 1970 Not Specified Not Specified No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Connecticut
Connecticut Gen. Stat. §52-557(f) 1971, 1990 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Delaware
Delaware Code Ann. §7-VI-5901 1953 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Florida
Florida State. Ann. §XXVIII-375.251 1963 No No No Yes Yes
Georgia
Georgia Code Ann. §51-3-20 1965 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Hawaii
Hawaii Rev. Stat. §3-28-520-1 1969 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Idaho
Idaho Code §36-16 1976, 1988 No No No Not Specified Yes
Illinois
Illinois Ann. Stat. §745-65-1 1965 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Indiana
Indiana Code Ann. §14-22-10 1969, 1995, 1998 No, for recreation trails; not specified for other locations. Not Specified No Yes Yes
Iowa
Iowa Code Ann. §XI-2-461(C) 1967 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Kansas
Kansas Stat. Ann. §58-3201 1965, 1988 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Kentucky
Kentucky Rev. Stat. Ann. §XXXVI-411-190 1968, 2000 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Louisiana
Louisiana Rev. Stat. Ann. §9-III-V-2-2791 & 2795 1964, 1989 No No No Yes Yes
Maine
Maine Rev. Stat. Ann. §14-1-7-159(A) 1979, 1995 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Maryland
Maryland Nat. Res. Code Ann. §5-1101 1957, 1998 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Massachusetts
Massachusetts Gen. Law Ann. §I-21-17(C) 1972 Not Specified Not Specified Not Specified Yes Yes, but voluntary payments are allowed
Michigan
Michigan Comp. Laws Ann. §324.73301 1994 No No No Yes Yes, but may charge a fee for "U-Pick" crops & not lose immunity
Minnesota
Minnesota Stat. Ann. §604(A)20 1961, 1994 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Mississippi
Mississippi Code Ann. §89-2-1 1978, 1986 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Missouri
Missouri §XXXVI-537.345 1983 No No No Yes Yes
Montana
Montana Rev. Code Ann. §70-16-301 1965, 1995 No Not Specified No Yes Yes
Nebraska
Nebraska Rev. Stat. §37-730 1965, 1998 No No No Yes Yes, except can charge group rates & not lose immunity
Nevada
Nevada Rev. Stat. §41.510 1963, 1995 No No No Yes Yes
New Hampshire
New Hampshire Rev. Stat. Ann. §XVIII-212-34 1961, 1982 No No No Yes Yes, but may charge a fee for "U-Pick" crops & not lose immunity
New Jersey
New Jersey Stat. Ann. §13-1(B)B-15-133 1968, 1984 No No No Yes Yes
New Mexico
New Mexico Stat. Ann. §17-4-7; §66-3-1013; §16-3-9 1973 No Not Specified No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
New York
New York Gen. Oblig. Law §9-103 1963 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
North Carolina
North Carolina Gen. Stat. §113(A)-6-95 1987 Trails Act, 1993 Not Specified Not Specified Not Specified Not Specified Only applies to trails & not other uses of land
North Dakota
North Dakota Cent. Code §53-08-1 1965, 1993 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Ohio
Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §XV-33-18 1963, 1995 No Not Specified No Not Specified Yes
Oklahoma
Oklahoma Stat. Ann. Title §76-10 1965, 1994 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Oregon
Oregon Rev. Stat. §105.672 1971, 1995 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Stat. Ann. §68-11-477 1965 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Rhode Island
Rhode Island Gen. Law §32-6-1 1978 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
South Carolina
South Carolina Code Ann. §27-3-10 1962 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
South Dakota
South Dakota Comp. Laws Ann. §20-9-11 1966, 1990 No No No Yes Yes, but nonmonetary gifts up to $100 allowed
Tennessee
Tennessee Code Ann. §11-10-101 1988 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Texas
Texas Stat. & Codes §4-75.001 1965, 1999 No Not specified No Yes No. Revenue from charges may not exceed 2x prop. taxes
Utah
Utah Code Ann. §57-14-1 1971, 1997 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed
Vermont
Vermont Stat. Ann. §10-020-441 & §12-5791 1967, 1993 No Not Specified No Yes Yes
Virginia
Virginia Code §29.1-509 1950 No No No Yes Yes, but may charge fees to maintain the land & not lose immunity
Washington
Washington Rev. Code Ann. §4-24.200 1967, 1997 Not Specified Not Specified Not Specified Yes Yes, but may charge for cutting firewood & not lose immunity
West Virginia
West Virginia Code §19-25-1
Also see West Virginia's Whitewater Responsibility Act §20-3b-1 to 5
1965 No No No Yes Yes
Wisconsin
Wisconsin Stat. Ann. §895.52 1963, 1995 No No No Not Specified No, so long as total revenues don't exceed $2000 annually
Wyoming
Wyoming Stat. Ann. §34-19-101 1965 No No No Yes Yes, but fees from land leased to public agency allowed

CLARIFICATION OF TERMS:


YEAR PASSED: When was the recreational use statute passed or modified?

DUTY TO KEEP SAFE: Does the owner owe a duty of care to keep their premises safe for entry and use by others for recreational purposes?

DUTY TO WARN: Does the owner owe any duty to warn visitors of hazardous conditions, structures, or activities on their property to persons entering for recreational purposes?

ASSURANCE OF SAFETY: Does the owner who gives permission to another for recreational activities on their property thereby extend any assurance that the premises are safe?

LIABILITY FOR MISCONDUCT WILFUL/WANTON: Does the statute limit the landowner's liability for wilful or malicious failure to guard or warn against known dangerous conditions, uses, structures, or activities?

PROTECTION LOST IF FEE CHARGED: Does the statute limit the landowner's liability for injuries suffered in any case where access permission is granted for commercial enterprise or profit? In other words, does the landowner lose their protection under the statute if they charge an access fee?


CREDITS:

American Whitewater collected the majority of this data via private research, correspondence, and assistance from the following sources:

International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA)

American Association for Horsemanship Safety (AAHS) & the University of Texas

Liability and Immunity: A National Assessment of Landowner Risk for Recreational Injuries; Ronald A. Kaiser & Brett A. Wright Envrionmental Policy Group, Texas A&M University, Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences

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Jason D. Robertson
635 Joseph Cir
Golden, CO 80403-2349