With summer in full swing, Ohio’s poor planting season won’t dampen the desires of those who want to use farmland for recreational activities like fishing or riding ATVs. And while we worry over the washouts in so many farm fields, an archaeological buff recently explained that those wash outs provide a good opportunity to find arrowheads and other relics. The fact that a field wasn’t planted didn’t stop a hot air balloon operator from asking a farmer if he could land in the unplanted field recently. Even when the land is not highly productive, Ohio farmland is always appealing to recreational enthusiasts for these and other types of recreational activities.
But what if a farmer doesn’t want recreational enthusiasts on the property or doesn’t want the risk of potential liability for a recreational user? A few of our resources provide guidance for these situations, which we can address in two important questions:
- Do you not want people engaging in recreational activities on your farm? If so, then take a look at our law bulletin on The Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing with Trespassers on the Farm. If you don’t give a person permission to come onto the farm for recreational purposes, the person is trespassing if he or she chooses to enter the property without your permission. But be aware that a landowner can’t intentionally put a trespasser in harm’s way and in certain situations, can be liable for a trespasser who suffers harm on the property. Know the legal rules for dealing with trespassers so that you can protect your property without risking liability. We explain these rules and situations in the law bulletin.
- Are you okay with letting a person use your farm for recreational activities? If so, you’ll want to read our law bulletin on Okay to Play: Ohio Recreational User Statute Limits Liability for Hunters, Snowmobilers, and More. Ohio’s Recreational User Statute offers immunity to landowners who allow recreational uses, but only if the landowner meets the four conditions of the law. A landowner of nonresidential premises who gives permission to a person to engage in recreational activities without charging a fee doesn’t have the traditional legal duty to keep the recreational user safe from harm. Our law bulletin explains each of the statute’s important conditions in detail so that a landowner can qualify for its liability protection.
Like the weather, managing the risk of recreational users and trespassers on the farm is a constant challenge for farmers. But unlike the weather, a landowner can effectively control this type of risk. When someone shows up to fish, ride ATVs, hunt arrowheads or land a balloon on the farm, be ready by having a good understanding of the laws that apply to recreational activities on the farm.
Tags: Ohio Recreational User's Statute, recreational immunity, trespass, trespassing law, hunting, ATV, snowmobiling
The Senate Judiciary today heard sponsor testimony for a proposed change to Ohio’s criminal trespass laws. The “purple paint law” proposed by Sen. Bill Coley (R-Liberty Twp.) allows landowners to use purple paint to alert potential trespassers of property boundary lines. The purple paint would serve the same purpose as a “No Trespassing” sign by indicating that a person does not have permission to enter the property.
“It is often difficult for landowners, particularly owners who have large pieces of real estate, to maintain and replace their “No Trespassing” signs on a regular basis,” states Rep. Coley. “This legislation amends Ohio’s criminal trespass law to allow purple paint to be a warning sign for trespassers.”
Ohio’s criminal trespass law establishes misdemeanor penalties for persons who knowingly or recklessly enter or remain on land of another without authorization from the landowner. The law allows several ways for a landowner to notify a potential intruder that access is prohibited: by actual communication, by fencing designed to restrict access, or by signage or posting in a manner reasonably calculated to come to the attention of potential intruders. The proposed bill would clarify that “posting in a manner reasonably calculated to come to the attention of potential intruders” would include placing identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts around the property. The purple marks would have to be readily visible vertical lines at least eight inches long, with the bottom of the mark being at least three feet but no more than five feet from the base of the tree or post and no more than 25 yards from the next paint mark.
Today’s committee hearing is the first for the bill. If the legislation eventually passes through the House and Senate, Ohio would join a dozen other states around the country in allowing purple paint to mark property boundary lines for trespassing purposes. Similar laws exist in West Virginia, Kansas, Arizona, Montana, Arkansas, Idaho, Florida, Maine, North Carolina, Missouri, Illinois and Texas.
Follow the proposed purple paint law, SB 76, here.
Tags: purple paint law, trespassing law, SB 76