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  1. #1
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    Default Two privately owned Colorado 14ers are open to hikers. Will it last?

    Privately owned 14ers... Who knew?? Interesting article.

    Durango Herald, Friday, Jul 22, 2022 4:00

    Increasing traffic is stressing a tenuous deal with landowners concerned about liability...

    MOSQUITO RANGE – Colorado Fourteeners Initiative trail builder Sarah Barringer looked up from her trail work on the switchback heading to the ridge below Mount Bross.
    A man was taking a shortcut, causing the kind of erosion that she was repairing.

    “Please stay on the trail,” Barringer said.
    “Don’t tell me what to do,” the man answered. “It’s a free mountain.”

    Actually, it’s not. The top of the 14,178-foot Mount Bross is owned by several people who are worried about liability and do not want hikers on the summit.
    Owners of the summits and trails leading to next-door 14ers Mount Democrat and Mount Lincoln share the same concerns, worried they could be sued if a hiker is injured in one of the many mine shafts and dilapidated mining structures on the mountains.
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  2. #2
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    Thumbs down I have heard about this situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by McPick View Post
    Privately owned 14ers... Who knew?? Interesting article.

    Durango Herald, Friday, Jul 22, 2022 4:00

    Increasing traffic is stressing a tenuous deal with landowners concerned about liability...

    MOSQUITO RANGE – Colorado Fourteeners Initiative trail builder Sarah Barringer looked up from her trail work on the switchback heading to the ridge below Mount Bross.
    A man was taking a shortcut, causing the kind of erosion that she was repairing.

    “Please stay on the trail,” Barringer said.
    “Don’t tell me what to do,” the man answered. “It’s a free mountain.”

    Actually, it’s not. The top of the 14,178-foot Mount Bross is owned by several people who are worried about liability and do not want hikers on the summit.
    Owners of the summits and trails leading to next-door 14ers Mount Democrat and Mount Lincoln share the same concerns, worried they could be sued if a hiker is injured in one of the many mine shafts and dilapidated mining structures on the mountains.
    I hate to hear this kind of news, but I understand that it is reality. One hiker could mess it up for everyone.

  3. #3

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    It's an issue in the Northeast, lots of hikers are working on fairly obscure lists of lower elevation summits on private posted property.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by McPick View Post
    “Please stay on the trail,” Barringer said.
    “Don’t tell me what to do,” the man answered. “It’s a free mountain.”

    Actually, it’s not. The top of the 14,178-foot Mount Bross is owned by several people who are worried about liability and do not want hikers on the summit.
    Owners of the summits and trails leading to next-door 14ers Mount Democrat and Mount Lincoln share the same concerns, worried they could be sued if a hiker is injured in one of the many mine shafts and dilapidated mining structures on the mountains.
    And there is the problem in a nutshell - hikers who believe they are entitled. You see and hear more and more of this kind of thing as years go by.
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  5. #5
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    And that problem goes beyond the trail. Whatever the issue, some will respond with "It's a free country", implying anything goes.

    But freedom comes with responsibility.

  6. #6
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    Can't they have it "hike at your own risk" with it posted everywhere to protect land owners from getting sued? Or it just doesn't work that way?

    Besides people off trail like the one mentioned above, a huge problem with erosion and making alternate routes on trails here in CT is mountain bikes on trails they shouldn't be on. It's really bad in places.
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  7. #7

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    A larger issue than someone getting hurt and needing to be hauled out of the forest is the fire danger, which is high in most areas around the US at this point.

    The only sign that will be useful in court are no trespassing notifications, legally posted and spaced, with gates installed and signed on any woods roads that come into the private property. "Hike at your own risk" signs are simply not enough protection for land owners to keep looky loos off private lands they feel entitled to be on. No Trespassing signage (legally installed) does provide some protection from people being hurt on the proper by known or unknown dangers.

  8. #8

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    In many of the northeastern states, there are recreational liability waiver laws in place. If a landowner does not post their land, the general public cannot sue if they are injured on the property. If on the other hand the owner posts the land, they are potentially responsible although even in that case, the injured party still has a very tough case.

  9. #9
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    Definitely a situation where the landowner needs to carry an umbrella liability policy. This provides protection in addition to limits of property insurance. And it isn’t expensive. A million dollars of insurance is usually a couple hundred dollars. Cheap for the peace of mind.

  10. #10
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McPick View Post
    Privately owned 14ers... Who knew?? Interesting article.

    Durango Herald, Friday, Jul 22, 2022 4:00

    Increasing traffic is stressing a tenuous deal with landowners concerned about liability...

    MOSQUITO RANGE – Colorado Fourteeners Initiative trail builder Sarah Barringer looked up from her trail work on the switchback heading to the ridge below Mount Bross.
    A man was taking a shortcut, causing the kind of erosion that she was repairing.

    “Please stay on the trail,” Barringer said.
    “Don’t tell me what to do,” the man answered. “It’s a free mountain.”

    Actually, it’s not. The top of the 14,178-foot Mount Bross is owned by several people who are worried about liability and do not want hikers on the summit.
    Owners of the summits and trails leading to next-door 14ers Mount Democrat and Mount Lincoln share the same concerns, worried they could be sued if a hiker is injured in one of the many mine shafts and dilapidated mining structures on the mountains.
    There are a bunch of "privately owned" 14ers and 13ers, most are "open to the public" though, thankfully. The Bross situation started quite a few years ago, I believe right after the Wilson Peak fiasco (the owner of a strip of land was paid 3 million bucks for access, when a simple route change would have avoided his land). People still climb Bross all the time anyway, basically just ignoring the sign. There is also an "alternate summit" that most folks "count" as the true summit.

    Mt Lindsey is going to be (or already is) very problematic, alas.

    Culebra has had a $100-$150 fee for climbing it for a couple decades now, plus you have to reserve in advance, limited dates. I feel fortunate that when I climbed is 25 years ago it was only a $25 fee.

    Anyway, Cest la Vie. Those 14ers are so ridiculously crowded these days, I stick to 13ers anyway (plus I finished the 14ers about 20 years ago). I gave up counting one day on Mt. Bierstadt when I got to a thousand folks (we were going down, having summitted at 5am-ish, passed over a thousand going up).

  11. #11
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McPick View Post
    Privately owned 14ers... Who knew?? Interesting article.

    Durango Herald, Friday, Jul 22, 2022 4:00

    Increasing traffic is stressing a tenuous deal with landowners concerned about liability...

    MOSQUITO RANGE – Colorado Fourteeners Initiative trail builder Sarah Barringer looked up from her trail work on the switchback heading to the ridge below Mount Bross.
    A man was taking a shortcut, causing the kind of erosion that she was repairing.

    “Please stay on the trail,” Barringer said.
    “Don’t tell me what to do,” the man answered. “It’s a free mountain.”

    Actually, it’s not. The top of the 14,178-foot Mount Bross is owned by several people who are worried about liability and do not want hikers on the summit.
    Owners of the summits and trails leading to next-door 14ers Mount Democrat and Mount Lincoln share the same concerns, worried they could be sued if a hiker is injured in one of the many mine shafts and dilapidated mining structures on the mountains.
    Also, the CO 14er's initiative folks have no right telling hikers what to do, they have zero jurisdiction. Yeah, they do good work, but should not be telling hikers what to do. I suppose nicely asking folks to stay on the trails is reasonable though....

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by LazyLightning View Post
    Besides people off trail like the one mentioned above, a huge problem with erosion and making alternate routes on trails here in CT is mountain bikes on trails they shouldn't be on. It's really bad in places.
    A one time hike thru a wooded area..........how does that cause a huge problem with erosion????

  13. #13

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    I have seen the impact of GPS tracks on off trail hiking in the whites. Many of the GPS aps automatically report tracks generated to "the mothership" post hike which is used to develop marked routes where trails do not exist. This directs additional hikers to the same track which develops a herd path. The problem is these tracks are not designed for low impact or to avoid fragile areas, they tend to be fall lines routes and the path of least resistance. One of the popular lists in New England is the 100 Highest, for many hikers this is their first exposure to bushwhacking through dense woods. For many years it was an obscure list with only a few folks going for it. The woods at that elevation tends to be dense spruce/fir subject to blowdown, using map and compass tends to spread the use across the terrain. The moose tend to create their own herd paths which tend to be on the "fall line" directly up slope through thick areas. These herd paths appear and disappear with the the exception of the inevitable herd paths that form near the summit. Once GPS got popular track sharing started and the 100 highest "bushwhacks" became one step away from official trails. Many are receiving bootleg "maintenance". Despite there being tracks, subsequent hikers run tracks and these are reported to the mothership and it locks in the tracks even further.

    Strava came out and that further reinforced bootleg tracks forming out in the woods.

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