CFPA has advocated for protecting all landowners against liability if they make their land available for recreational purposes.
Since 1971, our state’s Recreational Liability Statute has been extremely successful at protecting private landowners (individuals, corporations, nonprofits, and private utilities) against liability as long as they do not charge a fee to access their land. This Statute is essential to the many private landowners who graciously host Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails on their properties.
In 2010-2012, CFPA fought to ensure municipalities would also have protections that private landowners enjoy against liability on their lands. A case that served as a wake-up call to Legislators was the May 2010 jury verdict of $2.9 million for a mountain biker who was injured at the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) Reservoir in West Hartford. CFPA worked with a number of groups to ensure the MDC Reservoir, other recreational lands owned by the MDC, and other municipal recreational lands would not be closed as a result of the verdict.
On June 8, 2011, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a recreational liability bill (H.B. 6557), which was signed by Governor Dannel P. Malloy into law (P.L. 11-211) on July 13, 2011. This law extends the recreational liability protection enjoyed by individuals, businesses, and utilities to municipalities with some exceptions.
Representative David Baram (D-Bloomfield) served as the steward for this bill and deserves great accolades and our thanks for making common-sense improvements in the law for municipalities. We hope that this important new law will encourage municipalities to both open more lands to public recreation and more actively pursue the protection of additional lands that may support increased recreational activities for the public’s enjoyment and well-being.