"An Act relating to landowners' immunity for allowing use of land without charge for a recreational activity; relating to landowners' liability where landowner conduct involves gross negligence or reckless or intentional misconduct; relating to claims of adverse possession and prescriptive easements, or similar claims; and providing for an effective date. "
"HB 415 promotes recreation throughout Alaska by clarifying the rights and responsibilities of landowners, encouraging them to allow the public free recreational use of their lands."
- Rep. Seaton
House Bill 415 encourages recreational use of private lands by protecting landowners who allow free public access to their lands.
HB 415 stipulates that a private landowner does not owe to a person using his or her property for recreational purposes, (1) a duty to keep the land safe for use, (2) a duty to warn of unsafe conditions, or (3) a duty to curtail the use of their land for recreational purposes. A landowner receives no protection under the bill if they either charge for access or are guilty of intentional, reckless or grossly negligent conduct.
Current state law does not directly address recreational use of private lands. Alaska's Recreational Activities statute, AS.09.65.290, passed by the legislature in 2003, mainly addresses commercial operators. Some landowners are protected by Alaska's unimproved land statute, AS.09.65.200, but it is difficult to determine what lands qualify in more developed areas. Lands near any sort of structure, or that have been altered slightly from their natural state, such as a hayfield, may not be covered under that statute.
Parties interested in allowing public access of their lands are unable to assess their risks. The courts likewise have few means of interpreting legislative intent regarding the relationship between landowner and recreational land user. HB 415 eliminates these ambiguities by granting immunity for the recreational use of private lands in the same manner adopted by most other states.
HB 415 promotes recreation throughout Alaska by clarifying the rights and responsibilities of landowners, encouraging them to allow the public free recreational use of their lands.