DENVER, COLORADO – The Colorado State Senate unanimously approved SB 58 on February 2, in a 28-0 vote. The bill includes updates to the Colorado recreational use statute (CRUS) to provide stronger landowner liability protections for those who grant free access to their land for outdoor recreation. This follows several high-profile land closures, including multiple 14ers, in the wake of a significant 2019 lawsuit against the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The bill has the support of more than 50 different organizations, including the Fix CRUS Coalition. The coalition was formed after a similar bill died in 2023, with the goal of finding a compromise solution that balanced safety with access and liability protection. This bill, SB-58, represents 9 months of work to find a path forward that all stakeholders could support.
Notably, this legislation is not opposed by the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, which helped scuttle previous attempts to update the statute.
A Solution with Broad Support
“SB-58 is a balanced solution that provides clarity and protection for landowners without sacrificing safety and transparency for the public,” said Fix CRUS Coalition Secretary Alex Derr. “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.”
“SB 58 provides much-needed clarity regarding the language landowners need to use to inform people recreating on their property about the inherent risks and dangers,” said Coalition Executive Committee Member Lloyd Athearn of the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative.” Having personally hauled multiple five-foot-long sign posts about 5 miles and 4,500 feet to Mt Shavano’s 14,300 ft summit, which CFI owns, I know this is a burden on landowners.”
Key Provisions in SB-58
Here are the main changes and provisions included in the bill and how they help protect access to 14ers, trails, climbing routes, and other outdoor areas.
- Simplified Hazard Warning System: Allowing landowners to use a single warning sign at the main access point to cover open and obvious natural and specified manmade hazards. The bill provides a pre-approved warning statement landowners can use to ensure they are protected without requiring legal advice.
- Designation of Access Points: Empowering landowners to define official entry points to their properties, thereby offering greater control and legal protection when visitors enter via a non-approved access point.
- Visitor Boundary Regulations: Requiring visitors to stay within approved trails, routes, or areas, with deviations resulting in landowner protection from lawsuits
- Updated Recreation Coverage: Expanding CRUS to include modern and popular outdoor activities like trail running, backcountry skiing, and kayaking.
The bill retains critical aspects of CRUS, including non-protection for landowners charging access fees and the freedom for landowners to specify the types of recreation allowed, along with when and where access is specifically granted.
Take Action and Support SB-58!
The bill now moves to the House for consideration, including additional committee hearings, floor debate, and a vote of the full chamber. If it passes, it moves to the Governor’s desk for a signature or veto. If you support public access for outdoor recreation, please take action to support this legislation.
Together, we can help ensure Colorado’s iconic wild places remain accessible for generations to come.
Learn More: Watch the Video
Learn more about CRUS and why 14ers are closing by watching our video below. Help spread the word and build awareness of this pressing issue by sharing it with your friends and family on social media. Thank you for your support!