The Fix CRUS Coalition, a broad-based group advocating for access to outdoor recreational spaces, is excited to announce the reopening of two iconic Colorado 14ers: Mount Lincoln and Mount Democrat. The two peaks, along with Mount Cameron – which can only be reached via the two aforementioned mountains – form part of the renowned DeCaLiBron loop and will reopen on July 28, 2023. The mountains were closed since March due to concerns about landowner liability.
John Reiber, the landowner of mining claims on Mount Lincoln and Democrat, worked alongside the US Forest Service and the Town of Alma to establish a cooperative liability waiver system. This solution, while temporary, represents a significant step towards enabling public access to these peaks. Reiber stressed that while this process required a great deal of collaboration, hard work, and financial investment, it is a worthwhile endeavor that benefits both the local community and mountain climbing enthusiasts.
Despite this victory, Mount Lindsey will remain closed indefinitely. This closure underscores the ongoing need to amend the Colorado Recreational Use Statute (CRUS) to enhance landowners’ liability protection when they provide free public access to their land.
The Fix CRUS Coalition, consisting of 36 members including Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, The Colorado Mountain Club, Access Fund, National Ski Areas Association, The Trust for Public Land, as well as local businesses, counties, and municipalities, emphasizes that this is a temporary solution to a larger problem. They stress the importance of collective action and creative thinking to advocate for a long-term, sustainable solution by amending Colorado’s recreational use statute.
Anneliese Steel, Coalition Chair, emphasized that “we must continue working to strengthen the protections in the Colorado Recreational Use Statute, to protect free access to outdoor recreation.” Alex Derr, Secretary of the Coalition, further added, “The efforts to reopen Mount Lincoln and Mount Democrat are proof of what we can achieve through cooperation and creative thinking.”
“Hat’s off to John Reiber for launching this temporary fix using the electronic waiver to reopen Mounts Democrat and Lincoln,” said Colorado Fourteeners Initiative Executive Director Lloyd Athearn. “However, as owners of another 14er summit (Shavano), CFI knows that the long-term solution to landowner liability for everyone will come through fixing CRUS in the 2024 Colorado legislative session.”
Nicole Budine, Conservation Policy Manager at the Colorado Mountain Club added, “We are excited to see this beloved trail reopen to hikers. This reopening underscores the need for a sustainable, long-term solution for recreation access throughout Colorado.”
Hikers interested in accessing Mt Lincoln, Mt Democrat, and Mt Cameron must sign a waiver, which is available online here. While the summit of Mt Bross remains closed, the “Bross bypass” trail will be open for hikers completing the full loop.
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