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WSTC and Recreational Immunity: Two things that help Washington MTB

WSTC and Recreational Immunity: Two things that help Washington MTB

11 | Nov | '14
Bryan Rivard

Washington's recreational immunity statute greatly limits a landowner's liability when they open up their properties to the public for recreation--like mountain biking--without charging a fee.  

However, if landowners and land managers don't fully understand recreational liability in Washington, then they will be less likely to allow access out of fear. 

While this may not be a hot topic at parties, thanks to Evergreen it was at the biennial Washington State Trails Coalition Conference this past October.   Evergreen board member and attorney Andrew Rigel led a standing-room only presentation along with representatives from The Mountaineers and The Access Fund.  

Topics included an interpretation of the statute (RCW 4.24.210) itself along with a review of case law, additional risk management tools that can be used, and the risks versus benefits of encouraging recreation.

The WSTC Conference, held in Bellingham this year, brings together organizations from across Washington to discuss all aspects of trail-based recreation and had over 300 attendees. 

With 40% from government agencies and 35% of attendees representing nonprofits, the conference allows agency, recreation, health and social service groups to listen, build relationships and learn from each other.  And mountain biking had the strongest representation yet in 2014, including presentations by the WMBC on user collaboration and mountain biking on commercial forest lands.

With the continued growth of our sport in Washington, these events offer an incredibly valuable opportunity to highlight the best of our sport and the value of partnering with Evergreen.  Along those lines, we're excited to report that our own  Executive Director, Glenn Glover, was recently elected as president of the WSTC.  This is a reflection of his successful efforts to build bridges between Evergreen, land managers, and rec groups statewide and increase the acceptance of mountain biking as a legitimate use of our trails. 

A special thanks to the Bellingham Parks and Whatcom County Parks and Recreation for hosting this year's conference.  WSTC will soon be inviting towns around Washington to submit applications to host the 2016 conference.

Washington recreational immunity statute helps mountain biking access.