University of Vermont AAHS

Oregon Recreational Use Statute

OREGON REVISED STATUTES
TITLE 10. PROPERTY RIGHTS AND TRANSACTIONS
CHAPTER 105. PROPERTY RIGHTS
PUBLIC USE OF LANDS



105.672. Definitions for ORS 105.672 to 105.696.

As used in ORS 105.672 to 105.696:
(1) "Charge" means the admission price or fee asked by any owner in return for permission to enter or go upon the owner's land.

(2) "Harvest" has that meaning given in ORS 164.813.

(3) "Land" includes all real property, whether publicly or privately owned.

(4) "Owner" means the possessor of any interest in any land, including but not limited to possession of a fee title. "Owner" includes a tenant, lessee, occupant or other person in possession of the land.

(5) "Recreational purposes" includes, but is not limited to, outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, camping, picnicking, hiking, nature study, outdoor educational activities, waterskiing, winter sports, viewing or enjoying historical, archaeological, scenic or scientific sites or volunteering for any public purpose project.

(6) "Special forest products" has that meaning given in ORS 164.813.

(7) "Woodcutting" means the cutting or removal of wood from land by an individual who has obtained permission from the owner of the land to cut or remove wood.

 

105.676. Public policy.

The Legislative Assembly hereby declares it is the public policy of the State of Oregon to encourage owners of land to make their land available to the public for recreational purposes, for woodcutting and for the harvest of special forest products by limiting their liability toward persons entering thereon for such purposes and by protecting their interests in their land from the extinguishment of any such interest or the acquisition by the public of any right to use or continue the use of such land for recreational purposes, woodcutting or the harvest of special forest products.


105.682. Liabilities of owner of land used by public for recreational purposes, woodcutting or harvest of special forest products.

(1) Except as provided by subsection (2) of this section, and subject to the provisions of ORS 105.688, an owner of land is not liable in contract or tort for any personal injury, death or property damage that arises out of the use of the land for recreational purposes, woodcutting or the harvest of special forest products when the owner of land either directly or indirectly permits any person to use the land for recreational purposes, woodcutting or the harvest of special forest products. The limitation on liability provided by this section applies if the principal purpose for entry upon the land is for recreational purposes, woodcutting or the harvest of special forest products, and is not affected if the injury, death or damage occurs while the person entering land is engaging in activities other than the use of the land for recreational purposes, woodcutting or the harvest of special forest products.

(2) This section does not limit the liability of an owner of land for intentional injury or damage to a person coming onto land for recreational purposes, woodcutting or the harvest of special forest products.


105.688. Applicability of immunities from liability for owner of land; restrictions.

(1) Except as specifically provided in ORS 105.672 to 105.696, the immunities provided by ORS 105.682 apply to:
(a) All public and private lands, including but not limited to lands adjacent or contiguous to any bodies of water, watercourses or the ocean shore as defined by ORS 390.605;
(b) All roads, bodies of water, watercourses, rights of way, buildings, fixtures and structures on the lands described in paragraph (a) of this subsection; and
(c) All machinery or equipment on the lands described in paragraph (a) of this subsection.

(2) The immunities provided by ORS 105.682 apply only if:
(a) The owner makes no charge for permission to use the land;
(b) The owner transfers an easement to a public body to use the land; or
(c) The owner charges no more than $75 per cord for permission to use the land for woodcutting.


105.692. No right to continued use of land if owner of land permits use of land; no presumption of dedication or other rights.

(1) An owner of land who either directly or indirectly permits any person to use the land for recreational purposes, woodcutting or the harvest of special forest products does not give that person or any other person a right to continued use of the land for those purposes without the consent of the owner.

(2) The fact that an owner of land allows the public to use the land for recreational purposes, woodcutting or the harvest of special forest products without posting, fencing or otherwise restricting use of the land does not raise a presumption that the landowner intended to dedicate or otherwise give over to the public the right to continued use of the land.

(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to diminish or divert any public right to use land for recreational purposes acquired by dedication, prescription, grant, custom or otherwise existing before October 5, 1973.

(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed to diminish or divert any public right to use land for woodcutting acquired by dedication, prescription, grant, custom or otherwise existing before October 3, 1979.


105.696. No duty of care or liability created; exercise of care still required of person using land.

ORS 105.672 to 105.696 do not:
(1) Create a duty of care or basis for liability for personal injury, death or property damage resulting from the use of land for recreational purposes, for woodcutting or for the harvest of special forest products.
(2) Relieve a person using the land of another for recreational purposes, woodcutting or the harvest of special forest products from any obligation that the person has to exercise care in use of the land in the activities of the person or from the legal consequences of failure of the person to exercise that care.


105.699. Rules applicable to state lands.

The State Forester, under the general supervision of the State Board of Forestry, may adopt any rules considered necessary for the administration of the provisions of ORS 105.672 to 105.696 on state land.


105.700. Prohibiting public access to private land; notice requirements; damages.

(1) In addition to and not in lieu of any other damages that may be claimed, a plaintiff who is a landowner shall receive liquidated damages in an amount not to exceed $1,000 in any action in which the plaintiff establishes that:
(a) The plaintiff closed the land of the plaintiff as provided in subsection (2) of this section; and
(b) The defendant entered and remained upon the land of the plaintiff without the permission of the plaintiff.

(2) A landowner or an agent of the landowner may close the privately owned land of the landowner by posting notice as follows:
(a) For land through which the public has no right of way, the landowner or agent must place a notice at each outer gate and normal point of access to the land, including both sides of a body of water that crosses the land wherever the body of water intersects an outer boundary line. The notice must be placed on a post, structure or natural object in the form of a sign or a blaze of paint. If a blaze of paint is used, it must consist of at least 50 square inches of fluorescent orange paint, except that when metal fence posts are used, approximately the top six inches of the fence post must be painted. If a sign is used, the sign:
(A) Must be no smaller than eight inches in height and 11 inches in width;
(B) Must contain the words "Closed to Entry" or words to that effect in letters no less than one inch in height; and
(C) Must display the name, business address and phone number, if any, of the landowner or agent of the landowner.
(b) For land through which or along which the public has an unfenced right of way by means of a public road, the landowner or agent must place:
(A) A conspicuous sign no closer than 30 feet from the center line of the roadway where it enters the land, containing words substantially similar to "PRIVATE PROPERTY, NO TRESPASSING OFF ROAD NEXT ___ MILES"; or
(B) A sign or blaze of paint, as described in paragraph (a) of this subsection, no closer than 30 feet from the center line of the roadway at regular intervals of not less than one-fourth mile along the roadway where it borders the land, except that a blaze of paint may not be placed on posts where the public road enters the land.

(3) Nothing contained in this section prevents emergency or law enforcement vehicles from entering upon the posted land.

(4) An award of liquidated damages under this section is not subject to ORS 18.535, 18.537 or 18.540.

(5) Nothing in this section affects any other remedy, civil or criminal, that may be available for a trespass described in this section.

Amended in 1995, 2001.
Reviewed by AAHS in July 2001.
Reviewed and updated by AAHS in May 2003.


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