Additional damage is done by a stupid news account of the incident.
A hunter has sued a guide and the landowner for damages he received when he was hunting in grizzly country and was attached by a bear. The outfitter dropped the plaintiff off to watch for elk and took another hunter to shoot a deer. The outfitter was on his way back to the first hunter when he heard a shot. Upon arriving on the scene, he found the hunter on the ground who said he had been slapped by a grizzly. The hunter allegedly lost an eye in the attack.
At this point, I think I would be grateful I was not grizzly lunch. However, it gets better or actually worse.
The hunter is suing the landowner because the landowner was paid so the hunter could hunt on the land (OK, grizzlies are owned by the state, but the land owner is liable for them….). The hunter is suing the guide for “not give him training on how to deal with bears or provide him with bear spray.”
I bet he did not give the plaintiff pants either. Seriously, rarely do I bring up personal responsibility, but in this case, who is responsible for whom? Besides he had a gun that was big enough to bring down an elk supposedly. Let’s see, I made a grizzly mad do I want a gun or bear spray.
Sort of like the joke when walking in bear country you should take a bell and bear spray with you. To help identify black bear scat, they are smaller and are various colors. To identify a grizzly scat, it has bells in it and smells of pepper spray. See photo below!
But this story takes a new twist when one journalist decides to add new requirements to Montana’s state law and the duties of a guide or outfitter. He takes off comparing the training of government employees working in bear country have 112 hours of training to an outfitter and guest. The outfitter/guide did not give the client any?
I can see the advertisement now. Come to Montana to for a one week hunt lasting four weeks. After your three weeks of grizzly training we’ll let you out of the classroom to shoot something.
These hunts should be a big seller.
The article gets worse. “Do guides and outfitters like Johnson have the training and skills necessary to protect their clients during a worst-case scenario with a bear?”
I can’t believe this journalist has been outdoors. Having participated in a lot of Search and Rescues for hunters, no one can keep a hunter safe. Besides it is outdoors, there are a million ways anyone can get into trouble in the woods. No one person, let alone the Montana National Guard can keep some hunters safe.
1. If you are going hunting/walking/anything in grizzly country you better know what you are doing.
2. If you don’t know what to do in grizzly country don’t go.
3. If you don’t know what type of animals are going to be in the woods with you, stay out of the woods until you do. Most second class members of the BSA can help you with this.
4. If you are a journalist and believe that outfitters need to keep their clients perfectly safe, go back to New York City.
To see the original article Man Sues Church Universal And Triumphant, Hunting Outfitter. To see the article that would give grizzlies pause see Lawsuit will bring scrutiny to Montana hunting guides.
The only thing that will bring scrutiny to Montana’s hunting guides is dumb articles that encourage hunters to sue.
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Facebook Page: Outdoor Recreation & Adventure Travel Law
Contact:Jan Crosetto, CUA Office, 360-569-2211, ext. 2316
Mary Wysong, Concessions Management Office, 360-569-2211, ext. 2303
Mount Rainier National Park Commercial Use Authorization Program and Commercial Non-Profit Special Use Permit Program
Superintendent Dave Uberuaga announced today that applications can now be requested for the Commercial Use Authorization program and the Commercial Non-Profit Special Use Permits program for 2011.
Commercial Use Authorizations (CUA)
The Commercial Use Authorization (CUA) program for Mount Rainier National Park will begin accepting applications for CUAs starting September 1, 2010.
CUAs will be available for guided overnight hiking trips, commercial use of drive-in campgrounds, guided day hiking, bicycling trips, photography and art courses, shuttle transportation, winter guiding activities, single trip guide summit attempts and step-on-guides which is road-based interpretation. The majority of CUA activities have a two-year term (2011 – 2012), except Single Trip Guides and Photography/Art Course CUAs which have a one year term.
The number of CUAs issued for each activity will continue to be limited under this program. Potential permittees will compete for the award of permits. CUA applications will be accepted until all of the permits have been issued. In order to assure that the most qualified operators are selected for CUAs, application evaluations will occur at the end of each month. The park will begin accepting applications on September 1, 2010 through September 30, 2010 for the first evaluation. The first evaluation will review applications postmarked on or before September 30, 2010, followed by another evaluation of postmarked applications on or before October 31, 2010.
Commercial Non-profit SUPs
The Commercial Non-profit Special Use Permit (SUP) program will begin accepting applications for Commercial Non-profit SUP’s starting October 1, 2010 for the year 2011.
Commercial Non-profit SUPs will be issued to non-profit entities on a first-come, first-served basis. Non-profit SUPs are for one-year and will continue to be limited under this program. Non-profit SUPs are available for single trip guide summit attempts, guided summer overnight hiking trips, winter guiding activities, and use of drive-in campgrounds.
Organizations that have 501c(3) non-profit status and in-park activities that are commercial in nature can apply for a Commercial Non-profit SUP. Examples of criteria used to determine if a non-profit organization falls into the Commercial Non-profit category are:
1) Rates charged to participants – Is the fee greater than direct expenses?
2) Leaders/Guides paid above stipend.
3) No taxable income is received by company or organization.
Information and CUA application packets, as well as Commercial Non-profit SUP application packets, can be requested by e-mailing Jan Crosetto at email@example.com or calling 360-569-2211, extension 2316.
The Forest Service has published its latest version of its Outfitting and Guide Administrative Guidebook. The Guidebook can be found at: Outfitting and Guide Administrative Guidebook.
All permitees or people wishing to conduct commercial activities on USDA Forest Service land should know and understand this book.
Remember, the US Forest Service considers all college and university programs to be commercial outfitters requiring a permit!
The Chapter Headings are:
- Chapter One, Introduction 3 pages RTF
- Chapter Two, Definitions 1 page RTF
- Chapter Three, The Analysis Process 10 pages RTF
- Chapter Four, Application and Authorization Process 20 pages RTF
- Chapter Five, Permit Administration 12 pages RTF
- Chapter Six, Accountability Procedures 18 pages RTF
- Index 1 page RTF
- Appendix Index 1 page RTF
- Needs Assessments 8 pages RTF
- Approaches for Allocation 6 pages RTF
- Capacity Calculation using Limits of Acceptable Change 2 pages RTF
- State Outfitter Guide Associations 2 pages RTF
- State Regulatory Agencies 2 pages RTF
- Sample Solicitation Letter to Prospective Outfitter 3 pages RTF
- Assurance Clause FS-1700-1 2 pages RTF
- Special Use Applications – FS 2700-3 and FS 2700-3a 8 pages RTF
- Checklist for Issuance of Outfitter Guide Permit – 3 Examples 6 pages RTF
- Sample Format for Recording Required Documents 2 pages RTF
- Assigned Site Sign 4 pages RTF
- Sample Camp Layout 2 pages RTF
- Sample Annual Itinerary 2 pages RTF
- Sample Grazing Use and Fees 2 pages RTF
- Sample Operating Plan Contents 4 pages RTF
- Outfitter Guide Performance Evaluation 4 pages RTF
- Performance Bond 4 pages RTF
- Sample Letters 10 pages RTF
- Actual Use Report 4 pages RTF
- WO Letter of March 11, 1996, Assigns Minimum Fees 2 pages RTF
- Sample Flat Fee Rate Calculation 8 pages RTF
- Estimated Fee Determination Sheet 2 pages RTF
- Fee Calculation Examples 40 pages RTF
- Service Day Fees and Priority Use Review Chart 3 pages RTF
- Sample Pre-Trip Information Letter 2 pages RTF
- Contributors 2 pages RTF
Jennifer Caffarella has filed a lawsuit against Laurel Highlands River Tours for injuries she received rafting on the Youghiogheny River. She was injured when her unguided raft flipped and she stood up in the water trapping her foot. She claims she suffered disfiguring injuries and brain damage.
The basis of her claim is the raft company misrepresented its claims that the raft trip was safe for beginners. The raft company claims they require all rafters to watch a safety video and take a 30 minute training course before they are permitted down the river. The company claims that the plaintiff was specifically told not to stand up in the river which she did causing the foot entrapment.
Press releases or interviews with the press by the defendants usually don’t talk about releases. They normally just respond to the questions which are usually based on what the reporter knows, so we don’t know if the outfitter has a release.
At the same time, a training course is a lot of information. Add a thirty minute training course and you would have to think there was some risk involved or you would not get that much information. Foot entrapment is also one of the issues covered in every pre-trip safety talk because people want to stand up in rivers. The higher your head is above the water the safe you feel. It is tough and not understood by the ill informed that keeping your body low in the river is the safest course of action.
At the same time, dimple rock, is a dangerous river section where several people have died. The state of Pennsylvania just completed a study where they determined that Dimple Rock was not going to be removed. The study was prompted because of the safety issues presented by the rock. See Dimple Rock will remain unchanged in lower Youghiogheny River.
For the complete article see: Injured woman sues rafting company
It might be better to create a purely rental operation. If a car rental company can rent someone the most dangerous machine we have invented, the automobile, then a raft rental is easy. However, the course of attempting to make the experience easy and “safer” has lead the outfitters out of the protection afforded by a rental program and into a guide program where the liabilities are much greater. For that same reason, you probably cannot go back.
state park. The Tribune Democrat is reporting that the summer camp, Summer’s Best Two Weeks lost their attempt to receive an injunction. The article, Raft trip runs aground in court states a three judge panel denied the injunction.
The article is unclear and I have not seen pleadings to determine if the attempts by SBTW are over or they are continuing their suit. Many times you can be successful on the main litigation after you have lost the injunction motion.
A summer camp in eastern Pennsylvania is suing the state of Pennsylvania over the right to run rafting trips on the Youghiogheny River. This statement does not seem like much at first however it is a very interesting legal argument about a state’s right to control commercial activities on its rivers. See SBTW sues DCNR for right to raft.
In this case the summer camp is Summer’s Best Two Weeks (SBTW), a Christian youth camp that has been running raft trips for its campers for more than 30 years. Several years ago the state licensed four outfitters as the only commercial rafting operators on the Youghiogheny River and ordered SBTW to quit running raft trips.
It is not evident from the information whether SBTW was offered a commercial permit.
The commercial rafting companies were probably excited because they knew they could pick up the $30,000 of rafting that SBTW would provide. Yet it seems no one in the state or the commercial operators understood basic economies: supply and demand. In this case SBTW did not hire one outfitter for one trip. The cost of hiring a commercial raft company to take the campers down the river was more than the summer camp could pay. Simple economics, rafting is fun, but at a price.
I have to admit a little bias in this case. While I was working on the rivers in the west my brother was a raft guide for SBTW.
We do not know the states reasoning for either excluding or not including SBTW. Was it to keep SBTW off the river or where they influenced by commercial companies to increase their income?
This story can be repeated on rivers and trails across the US. You can change out the word camp for college or any other non-profit group and see outfitters believing that by excluding them from being on the same area they can profit from the result. It never works. There is a ceiling on the amount these some groups can pay and in the case of college programs there are different goals. Commercial companies want to provide entertainment for their clients. Colleges may want to educate, teach, build teams or have numerous other goals.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for outfitters, they are my bread and butter. But the outdoor industry never looked at the economics of outdoor activities other than their own bottom line. Campers and their parents, college students and their parents, most groups and parents have a fixed amount of money they can be spent on the summer or an education. Once that amount of money is spent, no more activities are undertaken.
There scenario has been played out for years at various recreational hot spots and is going to boil over as the forest service notifies more colleges and universities that they are no longer allowed on USFS land without a permit or a commercial outfitter on a permit.