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Legislative Year: 2023 Change

Bill Detail: SB23-103

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Title Update Colorado Recreational Use Statute
Status Senate Committee on Judiciary Postpone Indefinitely (03/01/2023)
Bill Subjects
  • Civil Law
House Sponsors M. Lynch (R)
Senate Sponsors M. Baisley (R)
House Committee
Senate Committee Judiciary
Date Introduced 01/31/2023

The bill amends the Colorado recreational use statute (CRUS).
Section 1 of the bill amends the stated purposes of the CRUS.
Section 2 amends definitions of terms and adds a definition of the
term inherent dangers or risks.
Section 3 changes the conditions under which the CRUS limits a
landowner's (owner's) liability for damages that occur as a result of other
persons' use of the owner's land for recreational purposes. Section 3 also
repeals limitations on the total amount of damages that may be recovered
from a private landowner that leases land to a public entity for
recreational purposes or that grants an easement or other right to use land
to a public entity for recreational purposes. In place of these limitations,
the bill substitutes language stating that, except as otherwise agreed by a
public entity and an owner, an owner is not liable for losses resulting
from a public entity's management, or failure to provide adequate
management, of land that is used for recreational purposes. Section 3 also
removes unused and redundant definitions of terms.
Section 4 amends several exceptions that describe circumstances
under which the CRUS does not limit an owner's liability. Specifically:
  • The CRUS allows an owner to be found liable for willful
or malicious failure to guard or warn against a known
dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity likely to
cause harm. Section 4 limits this exception to apply only
to malicious failures and amends the exception to apply to
a known dangerous condition, use, structure, or activity
likely to cause harm or death.
  • The CRUS includes an exception in cases in which an
owner imposes a charge upon a person who goes on the
land for recreational purposes. Section 4 removes certain
language from this exception that is redundant with
language that appears elsewhere in the CRUS.
  • The CRUS includes an exception concerning attractive
nuisances. Section 4 provides that if a property used for
public recreational purposes contains active or inactive
agricultural operations; active or inactive mining
operations, gravel operations, or other mineral and energy
development; or certain water structures, neither the
property nor the agricultural operations, nor the mining or
gravel operations or other development, nor the water or
water structures constitute an attractive nuisance.
  • The CRUS allows an owner to be held liable for injury
received on land incidental to the use of land on which a
commercial or business enterprise of any description is
being carried on. However, when land is leased to a public
entity for recreational purposes or a public entity has been
granted an easement or other right to use land for
recreational purposes, the land is not considered to be land
upon which a business or commercial enterprise is being
carried on. Section 4 removes this qualification from the
Section 5 relocates language stating that the CRUS does not limit
the protections afforded to an owner under Colorado's premises liability
statute. Section 5 also states that nothing in the CRUS creates a
prescriptive easement on private land where an owner has acquiesced to
public use of existing trails that have historically been used by the public
for recreational purposes.
Current law allows the prevailing party in any civil action brought
by a recreational user for damages against a landowner who allows the
use of the landowner's property for public recreational purposes to
recover the costs of the action together with reasonable attorney fees as
determined by the court. Section 6 states that in the event that an action
is commenced by any party, the prevailing party is entitled to recover all
fees, costs, and expenses, including fees and expenses of attorneys and
experts and fees and expenses associated with appeals of the court's
Section 7 states that nothing in the CRUS may be construed to
limit the authority of an owner to:
  • Determine any or all of the recreational purposes that are
allowed on the owner's land;
  • Identify areas of the land where recreational purposes are
allowed or not allowed; or
  • Restrict persons from engaging in recreational purposes on
the owner's land.
Section 7 also describes means by which an owner who elects to take any
of these actions may provide notice to the public of such actions. Section
also states that except as otherwise provided in the CRUS:
  • An owner owes no duty of care to keep the owner's
premises safe for entry by other persons for recreational
purposes or to give any warning of a dangerous condition,
use, structure, or activity on the premises to persons
entering the land for such purposes; and
  • Neither the installation of a sign or other form of warning
of a dangerous condition, nor the failure to maintain or
keep in place any sign or other warning, nor the failure to
make any modification to improve safety creates any
liability on the part of an owner when there is no other
basis for liability.

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with Amendments
Full Text
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