Recreational Immunity Critical to Outdoor Organizations

March 27th, 2024

At the end of 2023, a number of trails across the state - particularly those accessing bodies of water - were suddenly closed as the result of an Oregon Court of Appeals ruling upholding a lawsuit against the City of Newport by an injured trail user. This was alarming to municipalities and outdoor organizations, which count on recreational immunity, which protects landowners who open lands for recreational use. Without recreational immunity, landowners face the prospect of lawsuits and many are faced with the decision to close access to the public. 

Recreation organizations quickly mobilized to advocate for a legislative fix to restore recreational immunity during the recently-completed Oregon legislative session. Largely as a result of the efforts of these organizations, including Tualatin Riverkeepers, Senate Bill 1576 was passed earlier this month with broad bipartisan support, creating temporary protection for landowners. Temporary relief, however, is just that. 

Over the coming year, Tualatin Riverkeepers will be working with the recently-created Protect Oregon Recreation coalition to advocate for a longer term solution. Our friends at the Oregon Trails Coalition, who helped lead the charge over the past few months, will continue to galvanize partners around the state through the balance of this year. We encourage Tualatin Riverkeepers members to explore some of the resources on the Oregon Trails Coalition website, and look for more information on to advocate for this critical issue over the coming months. 

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