Bill to Protect Outdoor Recreation Access Clears First Major Hurdle with 5-0 Committee Vote

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Yesterday, the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-0 to advance SB-58, a critical bill to protect and restore access to trails and 14ers by strengthening and clarifying landowner liability protections. The bill was supported by testimony from 12 different organizations and individuals, including the Fix CRUS Coalition, Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, Colorado Mountain Club, The Next Summit Mountain Blog, and Earth Energy Resources.

“SB-58 is a balanced solution that provides clarity and protection for landowners without sacrificing safety and transparency for the public. By addressing gaps in the statute and simplifying signage requirements, this legislation will help protect access to iconic peaks, trails, and outdoor areas for future generations.” -Alex Derr, Fix CRUS Coalition Secretary

The unanimous vote means the bill will be sent to the full senate under a ‘consent calendar’ process that makes passage faster for non-controversial legislation. It will then head to the Colorado House for a Committee Hearing and full House vote, before it goes to the Governor for his signature or veto.

We want to thank the support of our amazing coalition members, Senate sponsors Mark Baisely and Dylan Roberts, and our pro bono lobbying team from Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck for donating their time to make this legislation a reality.

What Will SB-58 Do to Protect Access?

SB-58 would update the Colorado Recreational Use Statute (CRUS) to provide more clarity and simplifying sign-posting requirements for landowners to better protect themselves from legal liability for accidents on their land. CRUS applies only to landowners who grant free access to their land for outdoor recreation like hiking, climbing, and mountain biking.

Specifically, SB-58 includes the following provisions:

  • Clarification that landowners do not need to warn visitors about known hazards that are off-trail or in non-open areas.
  • Simplified requirement to post one warning sign at the access point that protects them from liability related to inherent recreation risks, weather, terrain, wildlife, mining, and agricultural hazards.
  • Updates to the list of recreation activities covered under CRUS.
  • Clarification that landowners may designate access points, trails, and routes open to the public, as well as the time and type of recreation activities allowed or not allowed.
 
SB-58 has the support of more than 45 local, state, and national organizations, including the American Alpine Club, Nature Conservancy, Outdoor Industry Association, Access Fund, Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, Teller County Government, Colorado Mountain Bike Coalition, Rocky Talkie, Alpine Start Coffee, and many others. 

Support SB-58: Contact Your Legislators

Colorado’s Outdoor Recreation Economy supports more than 120,000 jobs and contributes nearly $10 billion to state GDP annually, a number expected to grow considerably. Access to public and private land for recreation is incredibly important for recreational visitors and for local economies – especially those on the western slope or without significant ski resorts.

Help us build awareness of this issue among Senators and Representatives by contacting your lawmakers and urging them to support or co-sponsor SB-58. You can do so in just 3 minutes using this Action Alert shared by the Access Fund, which is also located below the video at the bottom of this page. Thank you for your support for outdoor recreation access across Colorado!

Learn more about this issue by watching our coalition explainer video below!

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