Recreational Use Statutes (RUS) have been enacted by all 50 states to limit landowner liability when owners allow public access to their private land for recreational purposes under certain conditions. The RAF has just updated its RAF 50 State Survey, a tabulation of each state’s RUS, with links and information to assist in finding relevant information.

Why are these statutes important to the RAF?

RAF National RUS Liaison John Nadeau of Massachusetts owns an airfield in Maine and explains why the RAF has spent time over the years to tabulate, understand, publicize and in some states, undertake legislative efforts to include “aviation” in these state-by-state laws, in keeping with the RAF mission to preserve or create airfields for recreational access.

“Some landowners worry about being held responsible for injuries that might occur when others use their land for recreation such as landing on their private airfield. Our experience is that fear of a lawsuit is the primary reason airfield owners limit public access to their airfields,” Nadeau said. “Landowners are not always informed about the recreational use statute in their state,” he added. Many states imply or specifically include aviation as a recreational purpose, which provides a level of protection for these private use airstrip owners.

“I believe that this may now be the most comprehensive and informative review of these statutes that I have found online,” Nadeau said, adding, “Thank you to all of those who have worked on this collaborative project.”

Submitted on April 29, 2021.

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