Recreational Use Statutes and Private Property in the 1990s


  • Robert D. Lee, Jr


Recreational use statutes, torts, property, recreational purposes, attractive nuisances, duty of care, willful and malicious.


Most states have recreational use statutes (RUS) that immunize landowners from liability when they allow the public to enter their land for recreational activities. While the laws are similar in many respects, states differ in terms of the type ofland protected, whether the land needs to be suitable for recreation, and the types of individuals and organizations that may qualify as landowners. States also vary in regard to the recreational activities covered and whether landowners need to give penitission for the public to engage in those activities in order to receive protection. If landowners impose charges on the users, the laws may no longer protect the owners. Questions arise over the duty of care and whether the owner acted willfully and maliciously in endangering users. The variety of questions raised indicates that states would benefit from a thorough stock-taking and possible revision of their recreational use statutes.





Regular Papers