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Sculpin
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PostTue Feb 25, 2020 1:12 pm 
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RandyHiker wrote:
the biggest hazard for land owners of allowing access is that by actually permitting it, will over time establish an easement

It depends on what you mean by "permitting it."  One of the surprising things in the law is that if you give expressed permission for someone to cross your land, no right-of-easement accrues.  So if you put a sign that says:

WELCOME HIKERS
The route ahead crosses private land,
please stay on the trail

...no right-of-easement accrues.  It has a certain logic to it.

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alpendave
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PostTue Feb 25, 2020 1:31 pm 
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But what of the beetles kill a pine which then falls on one of those hikers and paralyzes him/her? Seems like the owner could be liable for not taking the tree down.

The point of what I was saying is that liability should be shifted from the land owner to the individual — a large degree of immunity if you will.

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PostTue Feb 25, 2020 2:13 pm 
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As with any issue I this forum:


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Randito
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PostTue Feb 25, 2020 3:46 pm 
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Sculpin wrote:
RandyHiker wrote:
the biggest hazard for land owners of allowing access is that by actually permitting it, will over time establish an easement

It depends on what you mean by "permitting it."  One of the surprising things in the law is that if you give expressed permission for someone to cross your land, no right-of-easement accrues.  So if you put a sign that says:

WELCOME HIKERS
The route ahead crosses private land,
please stay on the trail

...no right-of-easement accrues.  It has a certain logic to it.

I'm not an attorney,  but I suppose adverse possession would be a harder case to enforce with such signage.
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Randito
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PostTue Feb 25, 2020 3:54 pm 
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alpendave wrote:
But what of the beetles kill a pine which then falls on one of those hikers and paralyzes him/her? Seems like the owner could be liable for not taking the tree down.

The point of what I was saying is that liability should be shifted from the land owner to the individual — a large degree of immunity if you will.

I think the risks of liability are a boogeyman that gets tossed around willy nilly. 

Winning such a case is highly improbable, it is also improbable that such a case would even be filed unless the estate got poor legal advice or had some other agenda.

I know of a young girl that was killed by a falling tree while a camper at Camp Sealth  -- that was considered an "act of god" with no liability to the camp.

Alpental averages a fatality per year and manages to stay in business.
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mb
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PostTue Feb 25, 2020 8:36 pm 
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Kim Brown wrote:
I wonder if the unwillingness of USFS to cooperate with the guys defense was lack of staff. it's easier to just not help out.

Given that the current administration is all about privatizing public land... more likely the owner was a friend of Zinke or some other connected person. Or just any private owner is given precedent over the public.

If the USFS staff has a document they could hint at it and respond to a public record request or whatnot.
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Malachai Constant
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PostTue Feb 25, 2020 9:00 pm 
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Law owner liability is dependent upon both the status of the person on the land and statutory law. In the case of recreation trespassers have the lowest protection, invitees higher, and customers the highest. This is modified by statutory law which reduces ski areas and the like where there would otherwise be strict liability. Ski areas are off the hook in most cases unless they they set traps intentional or unintentional. You could be liable if for example you  close trails when avalanche hazard exists but leave one open by accident and injury results. You can waive negligence in come cases but not recklessness. You are usually nor liable in the example above where a rotten tree falls on someone unless you have been warned and ignored the warning. As people said it is complicated.

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Sculpin
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PostWed Feb 26, 2020 8:20 am 
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RandyHiker wrote:
I think the risks of liability are a boogeyman that gets tossed around willy nilly.

Exactly.  The man-bites-dog lawsuits you see in the news color people's opinions.  In many cases where both sides are insured, the insurance company of the injured more or less automatically files suit against the other insurance company to gain leverage.  I would be all for changing our liability laws to look more like the laws in European countries like Germany.  The term allemansratten was already invoked here.

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Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir
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mike
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PostWed Feb 26, 2020 10:57 am 
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In Washington a land owner is not liable if he/she grants a free easement. If they charge or have obvious dangers, e.g. uncovered well,  then not.
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Muir fan
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PostSun Mar 08, 2020 4:57 pm 
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This covers landowner immunity with regard to recreation on their private property:

Washington’s Recreational Use Immunity Statute Can Provide Liability Protection to Land Owners

The real issue in my mind is anyone can sue anyone for any reason, and while the plaintiff won't likely win (if a tree falls on a hiker), the defendant still has to spend $ to defend themselves.
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treeswarper
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PostMon Mar 09, 2020 7:31 am 
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Would you stay off such a trail when the landowner posts closed signs?

For instance, Port Blakely Tree Farms allowed non motorized access on their land.  They will cancel that and post closed to all use signs when the fire danger escalates.  That means their land and roads may be closed to public use from July to September, depending on weather.   They do have a Forest Patrol driving around. 

How would you handle fire danger?  Would you respect the landowner and stay out? 

I thought about phoning or writing for permission to walk there during the fire closure stating that my dog and I would try not to spontaneously combust.  But I never did.

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moonspots
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PostMon Mar 09, 2020 10:09 am 
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Kim Brown wrote:
alpendave wrote:
and perhaps the hanging of a few ambulance-chasing lawyers

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"

---Shakespeare, Hank 6

I've thought that for many years. We could do well to emulate Scotland's public access policies/laws.

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PostMon Mar 09, 2020 7:09 pm 
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RodF
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PostFri Mar 20, 2020 11:33 am 
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RandyHiker wrote:
I think the biggest hazard for land owners of allowing access is that by actually permitting it, will over time establish an easement and then they will not be able to use the land as fully as they could otherwise,  it also diminishes the resale value of the land.

This concern may be valid in some other states, but it appears not in Washington state (see Gamboa v Clark) nor in Oregon (Motes v PacifiCorps).  We discussed this in further length in a prior thread.

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Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > Public Land Access Easements across Private Land
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