Landowner will close access to two Colorado 14ers after lawmakers rejected legislation limiting liability |

Landowner will close access to two Colorado 14ers after lawmakers rejected legislation limiting liability

John Reiber said he will close access to Mount Lincoln and Mount Democrat after lawmakers rejected legislation that would have increased protections for landowners

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun
Colorado Mountain Club conservation coordinator Kendall Chastain packs her bag after installing a "No Trespassing" sign along the DeCaliBron loop trail on July 12, 2022, near Alma. In partnerships with landowners, municipalities and trail groups, the signs help protect hiker access on 14ers without crossing closed private properties.
Hugh Carey/The Colorado Sun

The owner of three Colorado 14er peaks outside Alma says he will close access to hikers after state senators on Wednesday killed a bill that would have limited the liability of property owners who allow public access to private land. 

“I have been advised by my own attorneys on several occasions that I am rolling the dice by leaving these peaks open,” said John Reiber, who has spent years working with the Town of Alma, the Forest Service and Colorado hiking groups to keep trails on his land on Mount Democrat and Mount Lincoln open for the roughly 30,000 visitors hiking the Decalibron Loop every year. “Now, I do plan to close the 14ers for access. Without any regulatory support … I can no longer take on the level of risk in case someone gets hurt and wants to sue me.”

The Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday killed legislation — Senate Bill 103 — that would have amended the 1977 Colorado Recreational Use Statute to increase protections for landowners who allow public access from visitors who may sue if they are injured from inherent risks on the land. 

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Mark Baisley, a Republican from Woodland Park, was supported by 25 different organizations, including outdoor recreation groups, water districts, conservation advocates and municipalities.

The legislation was proposed in response to a federal appeals court decision in 2019 that sided with a mountain biker who sued the federal government — and won a $7.3 million judgment — after he crashed in 2008 on a storm-damaged recreational trail on the Air Force Academy campus.

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