Landowners and the Recreational Immunity Law in Wisconsin

March 19, 2014

Wisconsin is one of the few states that has recreational immunity protection for landowners.  Recreational immunity is found in Wis. Stats. § 895.52. The definition in the Statutes defines “Recreational Immunity” as “…any outdoor activity undertaken for the purpose of exercise, relaxation or pleasure including practice or instruction in any activity.”

Recreational Activities include “hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, picnicking, exploring caves, natural study, bicycling, horseback riding, bird watching, motorcycling, operating an all-terrain vehicle or utility-terrain vehicle, ballooning, hang-gliding, hiking….sports shooting and many other outdoor sport games and educational activity.”

This is important protection for landowners who allow people to use their property for recreation and have concerns about liability.

However, it is important that you are aware of the exemptions for some of the recreational immunity protection. If the private property owner collects money, goods or services in payment for the owner’s property for the use of the recreational activity, the recreational immunity protection may go away. The compensation has to be a total of $2,000 over a year for the loss of the recreational immunity protection. There are certain things that obviously are not included in the compensation equation, such as the donation of some of the animals shot while hunting or fishing on the property, donations of monies to add conservation projects to the property, and other exclusions. If you have questions on these exemptions, call a lawyer.

Nevertheless, despite this protection, all parties please try to be safe while recreating.

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For more information about "Landowners and the Recreational Immunity Law in Wisconsin," contact Buck V. Sweeney at csweeney@axley.com or 608.283.6743.