Mar 3, 2023 - News

3 popular Colorado 14ers may close to hikers thanks to failed bill

The Mosquito Mountain range. Photo: Courtesy of Tom Grossinger

The Mosquito mountain range. Photo: Courtesy of Tom Grossinger

A lesser-known fact about hiking Colorado 14ers: You're often trekking on private land.

  • Now the fragile agreement to keep them open appears over.

Driving the news: The landowner of the mountain summits and trails for Democrat, Lincoln and Bross outside Alma says he will not allow hikers after Democratic lawmakers rejected a Republican-led bill to limit the public liability of private property owners, the Colorado Sun reports.

  • John Reiber, who kept the trails open in partnership with local and federal authorities, says his attorneys are advising him to close access out of fear that an injured hiker might lead to a lawsuit.

What he's saying: "Now I do plan to close the 14ers for access," he says. "Without any regulatory support … I just can no longer take on the level of risk in case someone gets hurt and wants to sue me.”

Why it matters: Colorado 14ers β€” the 58 peaks above 14,000 feet in elevation β€” are the crown jewel of the state's hiking trails, and more than 30,000 people hike the Decalibron Loop trail that leads to Mount Democrat, Mount Lincoln and Mount Bross.

Details: 25 outdoor recreation, conservation and other advocacy organizations supported Senate Bill 103 to roll back liability provisions for the public on private land.

  • But the three Democrats that control the committee spiked it Wednesday.

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