RELEASE CHECKLIST: What MUST your Release contain to work

If you are getting ready for your summer recreation business, it is always a good idea to make sure your paperwork is up to date and ready to go. This is a checklist to help you check your release and make sure your release is doing more than wasting paper.

Not all of these clauses mentioned in the checklist may be needed. However, some of them are critical, and they may all be modified based on your activity, program, employees, and ability to undertake the risks. Some changes are always needed based on your activities, your guests and the state or local you are working in.

I’ve divided this checklist into three major parts:

  • Required for your Release to be Valid: What is absolutely required?
  • Needed: What you should have for your release to be valid in most states.
  • What Your Release Cannot Have: What you should never have in your document.

There are some subsections also that are self-explanatory. This will probably not be in all releases, but may be required in your release based on what you are trying to accomplish or what you are doing.

First make sure your state or the states you operate in allow the use of a release. See States that do not Support the Use of a Release. Then check to see if any of the states you operate in or are based allow a parent to sign away a minor’s right to sue. See States that allow a parent to sign away a minor’s right to sue.

Required for your Release to be Valid

Contract: A release is a contract. The legal requirements required in your state for your electronic or piece of paper release to be a contract.

Notice of Legal Document: Does your release someplace on its face, give notice to the person signing it that they are signing a release or a legal document? Courts want to see that the guest knew they were giving up some legal rights.

Parties: You must identify who is to be protected by the release and who the release applies to. That means the correct legal names as well as any business name.

Assumption of Risk Language: Does your release contain language that explains the risk of the activities the release is designed to protect litigation against. This is any area that is growing in release law.

Agreement to Assume Risks: Do your release have language that states the signor agrees to assume the risk. Assumption of the Risk is the second defense after your release in stopping a lawsuit.

Magic Word: Negligence: Does your release have the signor give up their right to sue for negligence? The required language and how it must be explained is getting more specific in all states and yet are different in most states.

Plain Language: Is the release written so that it can be understood? Is it written in plain English?

Venue: Does your release have a Venue Clause?

Jurisdiction: Does your release have a Jurisdiction Clause?

Signatures: Does your release have a place for the signor to date and sign the release? For a contract to be valid, it must have a signature, or if electronic acknowledgment.

Continuing Duty to Inform: Information to complete the continuing duty to inform for manufacturers

Items that may be Needed Dependent upon the Purpose of the Release.

Parental Release: Signature of Parent or Guardian AND correct legal language signing away a minor’s right to sue.

Statement the Signor has conveyed the necessary information to minor child.

Statement the Signor will continue to convey necessary information to a minor child.

Reference to any Required Statute

Signor has viewed the Website.

Signor has viewed the Videos.

Signor has read the additional information.

Notice the Release is a Legal Document:

Notice of Legal Consequence: Does your release state there may be legal consequences to the signor upon signing?

Opening/Introduction: Does your release have an opening or introduction explaining its purpose

Assumption of Risk Language

Minor Injuries Noticed

Major Injuries Noticed


Mental Trauma

Signor can Assume Risks.

Risks identified that are not normally Not Associated with Activity.

Drug & Alcohol Statement

Company Right to Eject/Refuse

Signor is in Good Physical Condition.

Able to Undertake the activity

Good Mental Condition

Release Protects Against

Lost Personal Property.

Lost Money

Lost Time

Loss of Life

Medical Bills


Indemnification Clause

First party costs

Third party costs

Severance Clause

Enforceability of the Release Post Activity

Breach of Covenant of Good Faith

Language Dependent on How the Release is to be used.

Product Liability Language

Release of Confidential Medical Information

Demo Language

Rental Agreement Clause

SAR & Medical Issues

Permission to release medical information

Medical Evacuation

Medical Release

Medical Transportation

Waiver of medical confidentiality

Waiver of HIV status

Alternative Resolution



Items I include in the releases I write.

How Release is to be interpreted.

Statement as to Insurance

Signor has Adequate Insurance.

Incidental issues covered.

Signor has Previous Experience.

Signor Read and Understood the Contract

Agreement that the document has been read.

Agreement that the signor agrees to the terms.

What Your Release Cannot Have

Places to Initial: This just requires more effort on your staff to check and is not legally required.

Small Print: If a judge can’t read it, then it does not exist.

Attempting to Hide your Release: You attempt to hide your release; the judge will act like he or she never found it. The below are all examples of attempting to hide a release.

No heading or indication of the legal nature

Release Hidden within another document

Important sections with no heading or not bolded: No hiding your release

Multiple pages that are not associated with each other: splitting up your release is hiding it.

No indication or notice of the rights the signor is giving up: Some day the statement I did not understand it will resonate with a judge. This prevents that.

Most Importantly, had your Release Updated Recently.

If you have been following this website and reading these posts, you understand you need to have an attorney write your release. That attorney must:

  • Understand Release law in your state or the states where you operate.
  • Understand your business and operation
  • Understand the risks you and your guests undertake.
  • Understand the people you are marketing too, to make them guests.
  • Make sure nothing in your marketing voids your release.

Nothing in your marketing program should invalidate your release. Does your marketing create liability not covered in your release? Is your marketing directed to the correct people that your release was written for?

When you write your release with your attorney, make sure it is going to work for you.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Copyright 2018 Recreation Law (720) 334 8529

If you like this let your friends know or post it on FB, Twitter or LinkedIn

If you are interested in having me write your release, fill out this Information Form and Contract and send it to me.

Author: Outdoor Recreation Insurance, Risk Management and Law

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Facebook Page: Outdoor Recreation & Adventure Travel Law


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By Recreation Law    James H. Moss

#AdventureTourism, #AdventureTravelLaw, #AdventureTravelLawyer, #AttorneyatLaw, #Backpacking, #BicyclingLaw, #Camps, #ChallengeCourse, #ChallengeCourseLaw, #ChallengeCourseLawyer, #CyclingLaw, #FitnessLaw, #FitnessLawyer, #Hiking, #HumanPowered, #HumanPoweredRecreation, #IceClimbing, #JamesHMoss, #JimMoss, #Law, #Mountaineering, #Negligence, #OutdoorLaw, #OutdoorRecreationLaw, #OutsideLaw, #OutsideLawyer, #RecLaw, #Rec-Law, #RecLawBlog, #Rec-LawBlog, #RecLawyer, #RecreationalLawyer, #RecreationLaw, #RecreationLawBlog, #RecreationLawcom, #Recreation-Lawcom,, #RiskManagement, #RockClimbing, #RockClimbingLawyer, #RopesCourse, #RopesCourseLawyer, #SkiAreas, #Skiing, #SkiLaw, #Snowboarding, #SummerCamp, #Tourism, #TravelLaw, #YouthCamps, #ZipLineLawyer,


There may be a new dawn in river and stream access in Colorado or access may forever disappear.

In the west, Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting.

When I moved to Colorado several decades ago, the biggest shock, I received was learning or attempting to understand Colorado’s water laws. In the Midwest, where I’m from, water was a problem: we worked to get rid of. My property law professor was an expert in field pipes. Water Pipes were pipes put into the ground by the federal government to help drain water from the fields. Any issues were over ownership, control and maintenance of the pipes, not the water that came out of them.

Colorado Water Laws were developed when the only use of water was for drinking, (when no whiskey was around), irrigating crops and mining. Until the last decade, use of water for any other purpose was not only a civil issue subjecting you to a suit for the loss of the water, but possible criminal action for theft.

In 1979 the Colorado Supreme Court Decision People v. Emmert, 198 Colo. 137; 597 P.2d 1025; 1979 Colo. LEXIS 814; 6 A.L.R.4th 1016 was decided, which allowed people to float on the surface, but not touch the sides or the banks of a river. That decision created an uneasiness that has survived, mostly allowing whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing in many areas.

Even so, many landowners disagreed with the decision. That disagreement was based on owning both sides of the land or “touching” the bottom of the river. Landowners would build dams so that a kayaker had no choice but to “touch” the bottom to get around the dam. When you saw a dam, you usually saw a sheriff’s deputy at the takeout ready to issue you a ticket.

If a landowner owned both sides of the river another trick, you would see is fencing strung across the river, sometimes with railroad ties attached to prevent boaters from paddling down the river. Most boaters called them death traps because getting caught in one could kill a kayaker.

However, the worst was paddling down the river and hearing shots or looking to the bank and see someone pointing a gun at you. At least once a year I would receive a call from a kayaker who had been threatened at the end of a gun for floating on a river or creek. Generally, there was nothing you could do. The district attorneys did not like prosecuting paddlers for trespass, (after a lot of phone calls form a lot of CO attorneys). At the same time, it was more difficult for them to prosecute a voter for “defending” their property.

The city of Golden took a bold step and was able to convince the Colorado Supreme Court that water had a recreation purpose. That allowed Golden and a dozen other cities to put in kayak parks. Until that decision, the park could be built, but there might not be any water in the park to float a boat.

However, in the rule areas, fencing and guns still ruled. However, this may be coming to a head. In an article published February 3, Who owns the bottom of the river? Lawsuit pitting fisherman against landowner on the Arkansas River could answer the question
a fisherman has taken the issue to court. The article exams a lawsuit filed by a fisherman against a landowner. Read the article to get the facts straight, but generally the fisherman was tired of having rocks thrown at him and threatened by a gun when he enters the river at a public location, a river put in and walks downstream fishing.

The landowner may not own the water, but he owns the bottom of the river, or so he claims. (The landowner was prosecuted for shooting at the fisherman!)

The Utah Supreme Court looked at this same issue several years ago and concluded the state owned the bottom of the river. Utah Stream Access Coalition, v. Orange Street Development, 2017 UT 82; 852 Utah Adv. Rep. 69; 2017 Utah LEXIS 200. However, the legislature then passed a law overturning the decision. See Recreational Use of Public Water on Private Property. You can’t fish on a stream in Utah, but Utah believes you should be able to mine our National Parks and Monuments.

How will the Federal District Court, where this case has been filed, rule? I have no idea; I’m not a court watcher. I want them to rule that standing on a river bottom is not a reason to get shot. I want them to rule that putting your hands down to get over a manmade dam is not a reason to be arrested for trespass. I want them to rule that it is 2018 and tourism is the larger employer, largest generator of jobs and the basis for Colorado’s economy and shooting tourists and locals should not be allowed because they can’t walk on the water.

Go here to read the complaint filed in this case: Complaint

Do Something

Keep your finger’s crossed, not much else we can do except watch and wait for the decision.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Copyright 2017 Recreation Law (720) 334 8529

If you like this let your friends know or post it on FB, Twitter or LinkedIn


If you are interested in having me write your release, fill out this Information Form and Contract and send it to me.

Author: Outdoor Recreation Insurance, Risk Management and Law

To Purchase Go Here:

Facebook Page: Outdoor Recreation & Adventure Travel Law


Google+: +Recreation

Twitter: RecreationLaw

Facebook: Rec.Law.Now

Facebook Page: Outdoor Recreation & Adventure Travel Law


Mobile Site:

© 2018 Recreation Law    James H. Moss

#AdventureTourism, #AdventureTravelLaw, #AdventureTravelLawyer, #AttorneyatLaw, #Backpacking, #BicyclingLaw, #Camps, #ChallengeCourse, #ChallengeCourseLaw, #ChallengeCourseLawyer, #CyclingLaw, #FitnessLaw, #FitnessLawyer, #Hiking, #HumanPowered, #HumanPoweredRecreation, #IceClimbing, #JamesHMoss, #JimMoss, #Law, #Mountaineering, #Negligence, #OutdoorLaw, #OutdoorRecreationLaw, #OutsideLaw, #OutsideLawyer, #RecLaw, #Rec-Law, #RecLawBlog, #Rec-LawBlog, #RecLawyer, #RecreationalLawyer, #RecreationLaw, #RecreationLawBlog, #RecreationLawcom, #Recreation-Lawcom,, #RiskManagement, #RockClimbing, #RockClimbingLawyer, #RopesCourse, #RopesCourseLawyer, #SkiAreas, #Skiing, #SkiLaw, #Snowboarding, #SummerCamp, #Tourism, #TravelLaw, #YouthCamps, #ZipLineLawyer,

Save Water Public Forum to be heldin Charleston WV January 9

Safe Water Public Forum – Jan. 9 in Charleston
In conjunction with the 2 year anniversary of the water crisis, WV Rivers and local partners are hosting a Safe Water Public Forum at the WV Culture Center in Charleston on January 9, 3-6pm. Join us to learn about potential contamination sources to local water supplies, discuss ways to manage those threats, understand how to provide input on source water protection plans, and connect with local groups working to improve water quality. There will also be free food, kids activities, door prizes, and live music!

Visit the event’s webpage for more information and let us know your coming by joining and sharing the event on Facebook!

What: Safe Water Public Forum
When: January 9 – 3-6pm
Where: Culture Center, State Capitol Grounds in Charleston

For more information call 304-637-7201.

For more information contact West Virginia Rivers Coalition


Springs Stewardship Institute, part of the Museum of Northern Arizona strives to preserve the Waters of our World

For More Information Please click here.

President’s Environmental Youth

President’s Environmental Youth Award

The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) recognizes outstanding environmental projects by K-12 youth. The PEYA program promotes awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. Since 1971, the President of the United States has joined with EPA to recognize young people for protecting our nation’s air, water, land, and ecology. It is one of the most important ways EPA and the Administration demonstrate commitment to environmental stewardship efforts created and conducted by our nation’s youth.

Each year the PEYA program honors a wide variety of projects developed by young individuals, school classes (kindergarten through high school), summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness. Thousands of young people from all 50 states and the U.S. territories have submitted projects to EPA for consideration. Winning projects in the past have covered a wide range of subject areas, including:

  • restoring native habitats
  • recycling in schools and communities
  • construction of nature preserves
  • tree planting
  • installing renewable energy projects
  • creating videos, skits and newsletters that focused on environmental issues
  • participating in many other creative sustainability efforts

Evaluation results consistently demonstrate that participation in the PEYA program is frequently a life-changing experience for many of the young people and their project sponsors.

In Spring 2015, the PEYA program was updated. The award portion was expanded to include awards for two age groups.

Applications are due December 31, 2015.

A regional panel will review applications from each of EPA’s 10 regions. Up to two winners will be selected from each region – one for Grades K-5 and one for Grades 6-12.

Wendy Dew

Outreach and Education Coordinator

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Region 8 ( CO, ND, SD, MT, UT, WY )

1595 Wynkoop Street, 8OC

Denver CO 80202-1129


303-312-6605 office

Environmental Educator Needed by Eco-Cycle’s School Recycling and Environmental Education Program

Environmental Educator Needed by Eco-Cycle’s School Recycling and Environmental Education Program

Eco-Cycle, administrator of the award-winning Boulder County School Recycling and Environmental Education Program, is seeking an environmental educator for presentations on a wide variety of environmental topics in K-12th grade classrooms. (A full description of the program is available on Eco-Cycle’s website at cyndra.

Job Responsibilities –

1. presentations on a wide variety of environmental topics for K-12th grade students using classroom, field trip and assembly formats

2. assist with:

a. phone surveys, web research and mailings

b. preparation of fliers, reports, letters, etc.

c. monitoring school progress in collection of recyclables and compostables

d. tabling, lunchroom monitoring and other outreach for Green Star (Zero Waste) Schools

e. other special projects

3. miscellaneous duties such as purchasing supplies, delivering materials to schools, maintenance and cleaning of program equipment

4. help sort and deliver books for the Children’s Used Book Project

Qualifications –

1. dedication to environmental work

2. experience teaching in a classroom setting

3. love of working with children, including a wide range of ages

4. writing and computer skills

5. ability to organize time well and be flexible with changing tasks

6. reliable vehicle to provide own transport to schools (mileage paid)

7. enjoy wearing costumes, including an elf and a superhero

Working Conditions and Benefits –

1. full-time position with full benefits

2. leave without pay, June through August, annually

3. mileage reimbursement for use of own car

4. all program preparation and driving time is included as part of paid hours

5. job requires lifting loads up to 50 pounds, carrying materials up and down stairs, transferring materials in and out of a car or other vehicle

Michele Melio

Green Star Schools® Project Manager

P.O. Box 19006

Boulder, CO 80308

(303) 444-6634 x 118

FT Environmental Educator Needed by Eco.pdf

Clean Trails

Clean Trails News
Our Amazing Volunteers
Collaboration is Our Middle Name
Hot Spots to Hike
Postcards From the Trail
Outdoor Photo Tips
Volunteer Spotlight

Amanda Wallander Roberts is on a mission to bring some organization to the Clean Trails organization-if that makes any sense! Amanda is the pulse of the organizational and program development for Clean Trails. She works on the systems and processes that allow individuals to get involved with Clean Trails and determine what they do once they are on board.

Collaborative Spotlight

LIONSHARES (Lionsgate Entertainment)

Who says cleaning up can’t be fun and productive? Another great collaboration this weekend with LIONSHARES (Lionsgate Entertainment’s volunteer program) at Solstice Canyon in the Malibu National Recreation area. A crew of 25 collected a 55 gallon bag of roughly 500 pieces of litter comprised of water bottles, labels, lids, and security seals at the regularly maintained trail.LIONSHARES is a volunteer program that seeks to provide opportunities for employees within the Lionsgate Entertainment family to partner with a diverse range of charitable organizations. The program not only enriches the Lionsgate work experience through cultural and educational outreach, but also positively interacts and invests in the local and global community.

Corporate Social Responsibility is an important cornerstone of our outreach strategy. If your company is looking for a way to give back to its community, contact our CSR Director Annette Poliwka to learn how your company can participate.

Visit Our Sponsor

We really like this company! In addition to excellent customer service and an extensive selection of products, they offer small grants to Jeep clubs and other organizations to promote responsible recreation and to clean up after themselves and others. Here’s a little more about this great company…

ExtremeTerrain is a collection of dedicated enthusiasts striving to bring you the best Jeep Wrangler aftermarket parts and accessories at the best prices possible. When shopping for Jeep parts online, you want to know you’re ordering from a reliable and trustworthy company that has extensive experience with both OEM and aftermarket Jeep parts. ExtremeTerrain was founded as an outlet for Jeep enthusiasts to seek advice from like-minded people and get the best Jeep Wrangler parts on the market without paying for ridiculous shipping and handling costs. We’re experts on anything and everything Wrangler as we stock the Jeep parts you seek and have the experience to back it up.

Order a free catalog, read a review or two and give us a call if you have any questions. Whether you’re into crawling canyons, climbing mountains, wheeling a tough trail, exploring the off-road, or just cruising the open highway give us a call to chat about your next modification-we’ll be happy to help recommend the right Wrangler parts for your project and your budget!

Things We Like

GOCO invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces. Our independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created by voters in 1992, GOCO has committed more than $825 million in lottery proceeds to more than 4,500 projects in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support.

LinksClean Trails

Extreme Terrain

Great Outdoors Colorado

Trail Talk
Dear JIM,Clean Trails is on the move! We hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter. Along with a bit about what we’ve been up to, we’ve selected some interesting content we hope you will appreciate . Let us know what you think…
15 Best Day Hikes

Here they are: GP’s best day hikes, as told by our readers. All of the words and images below are straight from your submissions to our GP best hikes competition. We edited and condensed as necessary (some of you really like to type) and shot for widest possible range of locations and types of stories. What we were left with is a diverse hodgepodge of outdoor activity, organized from west to east, starting with Hawaii in the Pacific and ending with St. John in the Atlantic. Without further ado: 15 favorite hiking destinations, as told by GP readers, for GP readers.

Postcard From the Trail
The Grand Canyon

Introducing our new blog series, Postcards from the Trail. It gives our readers, supporters, and volunteers the opportunity to share their outdoor adventures, experiences, and memories with the Clean Trails community.

This post in our series is from Chris Fortunato. Chris is a Clean Trails volunteer in San Diego, CA. He recently spent some time at the Grand Canyon. Here’s an excerpt:

“Often times it’s the little details that make an adventure special and add a personal element to a trip. It could be the unexpected memories you create after taking that wrong turn and getting lost. Or maybe that morning cup of coffee while overlooking the view outside your tent. Even the smell of dusty gear when you get home, jolting you back to the trail for just a moment. These little gems make a huge impact, even when visiting overwhelming locations like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon. They may not make the trip, considering the world class sights to be seen, but they add another level of satisfaction.”

If you have something that you would like to contribute, Please contact our Web/Blog Editor Tim Brown.

Wildlife Photo Tips

We bet everyone has tried to get that perfect wildlife shot on one of their hikes. We found these great tips at Backpacker Magazine that should help you improve your photography.

“Practice at home, zoom in, and follow these other simple rules to score an intimate shot that captures an animal’s character.”

“We believe that people are naturally responsible; if we encourage them to care for their favorite places, to pick up after themselves and others, then our trails will become self-sufficient, clean, and more enjoyable. Our job is to show them the way. Thanks for joining us!”Sincerely,

Richard L. P. Solosky
Interim Executive Director, Clean Trails

What if everyone picked up just one piece of litter?Trails that are littered tend to get more littered, but trails that are clean remain that way. If you know of a trail or area that is in need of clean up and would like to coordinate an event, please let us know.

Oh, and please like and follow us on your favorite social media channel.