Wisconsin Recreational Use Statute

WISCONSIN STATUTES
PROVISIONS COMMON TO ACTIONS AND PROCEEDINGS IN ALL COURTS
CHAPTER 895: MISCELLANEOUS GENERAL PROVISIONS

895.52 Recreational activities; limitation of property owners' liability.

895.52(1) Definitions. In this section:

(a) "Governmental body" means any of the following:

1. The federal government.

2. This state.

3. A county or municipal governing body, agency, board, commission, committee, council, department, district or any other public body corporate and politic created by constitution, statute, ordinance, rule or order.

4. A governmental or quasi-governmental corporation.

5. A formally constituted subunit or an agency of subd. 1., 2., 3. or 4.

(b) "Injury" means an injury to a person or to property.

(c) "Nonprofit organization" means an organization or association not organized or conducted for pecuniary profit.

(d) "Owner" means either of the following:

1. A person, including a governmental body or nonprofit organization, that owns, leases or occupies property.

2. A governmental body or nonprofit organization that has a recreational agreement with another owner.

(e) "Private property owner" means any owner other than a governmental body or nonprofit organization.

(f) "Property" means real property and buildings, structures and improvements thereon, and the waters of the state, as defined under s. 281.01 (18).

(g) "Recreational activity" means any outdoor activity undertaken for the purpose of exercise, relaxation or pleasure, including practice or instruction in any such activity. "Recreational activity" includes hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, picnicking, exploring caves, nature study, bicycling, horseback riding, bird-watching, motorcycling, operating an all-terrain vehicle, ballooning, hang gliding, hiking, tobogganing, sledding, sleigh riding, snowmobiling, skiing, skating, water sports, sight-seeing, rock-climbing, cutting or removing wood, climbing observation towers, animal training, harvesting the products of nature, sport shooting and any other outdoor sport, game or educational activity. "Recreational activity" does not include any organized team sport activity sponsored by the owner of the property on which the activity takes place.

(h) "Recreational agreement" means a written authorization granted by an owner to a governmental body or nonprofit organization permitting public access to all or a specified part of the owner's property for any recreational activity.

(i) "Residential property" means a building or structure designed for and used as a private dwelling accommodation or private living quarters, and the land surrounding the building or structure within a 300-foot radius.

895.52(2)No duty; immunity from liability.

(a) Except as provided in subs. (3) to (6), no owner and no officer, employee or agent of an owner owes to any person who enters the owner's property to engage in a recreational activity:

1. A duty to keep the property safe for recreational activities.

2. A duty to inspect the property, except as provided under s. 23.115 (2).

3. A duty to give warning of an unsafe condition, use or activity on the property.

(b) Except as provided in subs. (3) to (6), no owner and no officer, employee or agent of an owner is liable for the death of, any injury to, or any death or injury caused by, a person engaging in a recreational activity on the owner's property or for any death or injury resulting from an attack by a wild animal.

895.52(3) Liability; state property.

Subsection (2) does not limit the liability of an officer, employee or agent of this state or of any of its agencies for either of the following:

(a) A death or injury that occurs on property of which this state or any of its agencies is the owner at any event for which the owner charges an admission fee for spectators.

(b) A death or injury caused by a malicious act or by a malicious failure to warn against an unsafe condition of which an officer, employee or agent knew, which occurs on property designated by the department of natural resources under s. 23.115 or designated by another state agency for a recreational activity.

895.52(4) Liability; property of governmental bodies other than this state.

Subsection (2) does not limit the liability of a governmental body other than this state or any of its agencies or of an officer, employee or agent of such a governmental body for either of the following:

(a) A death or injury that occurs on property of which a governmental body is the owner at any event for which the owner charges an admission fee for spectators.

(b) A death or injury caused by a malicious act or by a malicious failure to warn against an unsafe condition of which an officer, employee or agent of a governmental body knew, which occurs on property designated by the governmental body for recreational activities.

895.525 Participation in recreational activities.

895.525(1)Legislative purpose.

The legislature intends by this section to establish the responsibilities of participants in recreational activities in order to decrease uncertainty regarding the legal responsibility for deaths or injuries that result from participation in recreational activities and thereby to help assure the continued availability in this state of enterprises that offer recreational activities to the public.

895.525(2)Definition.

In this section, "recreational activity" means any activity undertaken for the purpose of exercise, relaxation or pleasure, including practice or instruction in any such activity. "Recreational activity" includes hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, bowling, billiards, picnicking, exploring caves, nature study, dancing, bicycling, horseback riding, horseshoe-pitching, bird-watching, motorcycling, operating an all-terrain vehicle, ballooning, curling, throwing darts, hang gliding, hiking, tobogganing, sledding, sleigh riding, snowmobiling, skiing, skating, participation in water sports, weight and fitness training, sight-seeing, rock-climbing, cutting or removing wood, climbing observation towers, animal training, harvesting the products of nature, sport shooting and any other sport, game or educational activity.

895.525(3) Appreciation of risk.

A participant in a recreational activity engaged in on premises owned or leased by a person who offers facilities to the general public for participation in recreational activities accepts the risks inherent in the recreational activity of which the ordinary prudent person is or should be aware. In a negligence action for recovery of damages for death, personal injury or property damage, conduct by a participant who accepts the risks under this subsection is contributory negligence, to which the comparative negligence provisions of s. 895.045 shall apply.

895.525(4) Responsibilities of participants.

(a) A participant in a recreational activity engaged in on premises owned or leased by a person who offers facilities to the general public for participation in recreational activities is responsible to do all of the following:

1. Act within the limits of his or her ability.

2. Heed all warnings regarding participation in the recreational activity.

3. Maintain control of his or her person and the equipment, devices or animals the person is using while participating in the recreational activity.

4. Refrain from acting in any manner that may cause or contribute to the death or injury to himself or herself or to other persons while participating in the recreational activity.

(b) A violation of this subsection constitutes negligence. The comparative negligence provisions of s. 895.045 apply to negligence under this subsection.

895.525(5) Effect on related provision.

Nothing in this section affects the limitation of property owners' liability under s. 895.52.

895.525 - ANNOT. History: 1987 a. 377; 1995 a. 223, 447; 1997 a. 242.
895.525 - ANNOT. NOTE: 1987 Wis. Act 377, which created this section, has a prefatory note explaining the act.
895.525 - ANNOT. This section codifies common law. It does not impose a greater duty of care on individuals than exists at common law. Rockweit v. Senecal, 197 Wis. 2d 409, 541 N.W.2d 742 (1995).
895.525 - ANNOT. Sub. (3) does not mean that all who ski are negligent under all circumstances. Sub. (3) and (4) when read together impose an obligation of ordinary care on a skier to avoid foreseeable harms including adherence to the conditions enumerated in sub. (4). Ansani v. Cascade Mountain, Inc. 223 Wis. 2d 39, 588 N.W.2d 321 (Ct. App. 1998).

895.527 Sport shooting range activities.

895.527(1)

In this section, "sport shooting range" means an area designed and operated for the use and discharge of firearms.

895.527(2)

A person who owns or operates a sport shooting range is immune from civil liability related to noise resulting from the operation of the sport shooting range.

895.527(3)

A person who owns or operates a sport shooting range is not subject to an action for nuisance or to zoning conditions related to noise and no court may enjoin or restrain the operation or use of a sport shooting range on the basis of noise.

895.527(4)

Any sport shooting range that exists on June 18, 1998, may continue to operate as a sport shooting range at that location notwithstanding any zoning ordinance enacted under s. 59.69, 60.61, 60.62, 61.35 or 62.23 (7), if the sport shooting range is a lawful use or a legal nonconforming use under any zoning ordinance enacted under s. 59.69, 60.61, 60.62, 61.35 or 62.23 (7) that is in effect on June 18, 1998.

895.527(5)

Any sport shooting range that exists on June 18, 1998, may continue to operate as a sport shooting range at that location notwithstanding all of the following:

(a) Section 167.30, 941.20 (1) (d) or 948.605 or any rule promulgated under those sections regulating or prohibiting the discharge of firearms.

(b) Section 66.092 (3) (b) [s. 66.0409 (3) (b)] or any ordinance or resolution.
895.527 - ANNOT. NOTE: The bracketed language indicates the correct cross-reference. Corrective legislation is pending.

(c) Any zoning ordinance that is enacted, or resolution that is adopted, under s. 59.69, 60.61, 60.62, 61,35 or 62.23 (7) that is related to noise.



SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Text of Code also available at http://www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb/stats.html on 11/19/00.