Recreation and fitness are vital to the livelihood and physical health of Oregonians. Access to both have been assured through a basic legal agreement enforced through a liability waiver: individuals accept responsibility for engaging in inherently risky activity, and businesses accept responsibility for reckless disregard or willful conduct.
Unfortunately, recent court rulings have effectively nullified Oregon liability waivers, impacting the accessibility and affordability of recreation and fitness for people across our state. Businesses are seeing their liability insurance rates increase dramatically, if they can even get it at all. For instance, our insurer will no longer provide coverage for mountain biking at resorts in Oregon like Anthony Lakes.
Protect Oregon Recreation, a broad coalition of recreation and fitness providers from every corner of the state, has formed to urge passage of SB 754 in the Oregon State Legislature. The bipartisan bill simply restores the long-standing legal liability standard that previously existed in Oregon and currently exists in every other western state. If we don’t restore this balanced approach, small businesses and rural communities will disproportionately bear the brunt of reduced access and higher costs for recreation options.
Anthony Lakes Outdoor Recreation Association is a non-profit that operates Anthony Lakes Ski Area, a number of U.S. Forest Service campgrounds, a bike and ski shop in Baker City, a hiking and biking tour company, and Quail Ridge Golf Course. Like many recreation and fitness providers in rural communities, we pride ourselves on hiring local people, spending as many dollars as we can locally, and emphasizing access to recreation for youth and underprivileged members of our community. But we are very concerned about our ability to continue to provide access to all of our recreation options without restoring balance to liability waivers.
We urge you to support this common sense, bipartisan effort. If you’d like to learn more, you can visit www.protectoregonrec.org.
Anthony Lakes Outdoor Recreation Association