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This Simple Law Gives Greater Access to Colorado’s Outdoors, Protects Private Landowners

Colorado’s governor signed into law this month a measure designed to give the public greater access to the outdoors in The Centennial State as long as private landowners post signs warning of the possible dangers of recreating on their land. 

The “Landowner Liability Recreational Use Warning Signs” law, signed by Gov. Jared Polis on March 15, shields private landowners from lawsuits if they post warning signs at access points to their land notifying the public about the specific risks posed by the land.  

The measure was proposed following the verdict in a personal injury lawsuit in which the U.S. Air Force Academy was held responsible for not warning the public about issues with a bike trail and a cyclist crashed into a sinkhole. The court awarded the cyclist $7.3 million for his injuries. 

Although the Colorado Recreational Use Statute offered some protections, lawmakers say the result of the 2017 verdict led to many privately owned outdoor recreation sites, including sites of famed 14,000-foot peaks, closing out of fear of litigation. 

In a statement last month, Colorado Rep. Brianna Titone, a Democrat from Arvada, explained that the measure “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.”

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