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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: March 3, 2017 03:32 PM
From: Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Recreational Use of Private Land
 
In Pennsylvania, according to the Outdoor recreation Industry Association, outdoor recreation generates $21.5 billion in consumer spending, 219,000 direct Pennsylvania jobs, $7.2 billion in wages and salaries, and $1.6 billion in state and local tax revenue. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation noted that in the U.S. in 2011 that outdoor recreation sales of gear and trips of $325 billion per year were greater than annual returns from pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing ($162 billion), legal services ($253 billion), and power generation and supply ($283 billion). In 2015, more than 142 million Americans, or 48.4 percent of the US population, participated in an outdoor activity-- a total of 11.7 billion outdoor outings.

Clearly, providing and preserving access to outdoor recreation protects this economy, and the businesses, communities and people who depend on it. I believe that includes the opportunities provided by private land. I plan to introduce legislation that will amend the state’s recreational use of land liability law in order to expand its protections for landowners, and to ensure that legal fees are covered for property owners who are found not liable for injuries to recreational users. This bill is a companion to House Bill 544, introduced by Representative Moul the last two sessions.

Commonly known as the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act, Act 586 of 1965 limits the legal liability for landowners who open their land for public recreational use at no charge. The goal is to provide an incentive for landowners to allow their land to be used for recreational purposes such as hunting, fishing, hiking and boating.

This legislation will expand the language of the law to include various property improvements, and will cover all recreational activities undertaken for exercise, education and pleasure. Those activities will include snowmobiling and ATV and motorcycle riding. The bill also adds a section requiring courts to award attorney fees and legal costs to landowners found not to be liable for an injury pursuant to this law.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation to protect private landowners and provide recreational opportunities.



Introduced as SB814