2017 Pathways Conference presented by Colorado State University, US Fish & Wildlife Service and Rocky Mountain National ParkPosted: December 2, 2016
Pathways Conference 2017
Join us for the Pathways 2017 conference hosted by Colorado State University, in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado!
Abstract due date: April 24, 2017 (Call for abstracts Dec. 1)
Mark your Calendar: September 17 – 20, 2017
Location: This year we return to the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Nestled in the outskirts of the beautiful town of Estes Park, the YMCA of the Rockies is surrounded by Rocky Mountain National Park on three sides. This venue provides a fantastic setting with abundant wildlife viewing opportunities at your doorstep.
US Forest Service job in the SW Region: Outreach notice – Cooperative Education Specialist (Conservation/Environmental)Posted: December 31, 2015
Regional Conservation/Environmental Education Specialist
Interdisciplinary – Natural Resource Specialist / Environmental Education Specialist 0404/1701 – 11/12
The Southwestern Region is seeking a dynamic, creative candidate to serve as the Regional Cooperative Education Specialist (Conservation/Environmental) in the Office of Public & Legislative Affairs.
The Office of Public & Legislative Affairs coordinates media relations, congressional affairs, conservation education, internal communications, graphic design, printing, audio-visuals and visitor information services for the Region. Specialist provides program leadership and expertise for the conservation education and community relations efforts of the Southwestern Region.
New Wrinkle in the skiing out of bound’s odyssey. Douglas County Nevada law prohibits it, even though US Forest Service says it is not illegal.Posted: December 30, 2015
Man skiing out of bounds, missing & SAR goes looking for him. When he shows up, he is issued a ticket for violating an out of bounds skiing law in Douglas County, Nevada.
A skier a Tahoe NV resident, ducked a rope at Heavenly Ski Resort and ski out of bounds. When he did not come back after two hours, and the resort had closed his friends called the sheriff’s office.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s office and Douglas County Search and Rescue (SAR) team started a search. Four hours later, the missing skier contacted the sheriff’s office and notified them he was OK.
Soon thereafter, the sheriff’s office met the individual and issued him a ticket for skiing out of bounds. Bail was $640.00.
Nevada has a Skier Responsibility Code, which specifically allows counties to enact their own codes if they do not conflict with the Nevada state skier responsibility code. Consequently, Douglas County has added to the responsibilities with its code, which affects Heavenly.
(How the civil requirements and prohibitions are applied from a criminal code is confusing.)
The main difference between the state statute and the county ordinance is the skiing out of bound’s section.
11. A skier, having used a ski lift or surface lift of a ski area, must no ski under a manmade barrier that is designed to prohibit a skier from entering a closed portion of the ski area or from leaving any part of the ski area. For the purpose of this section, a barrier may be designated by roping off an area. Any skier that violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor.
In this case, based on the facts from various articles, the skier probably should have been fined ducking a rope by himself and disappearing for four hours.
However, several other news stories reported the US Forest Service side of the story which says skiing on US Forest Service land is not illegal. See the article in the local paper, The Record Courier: Skiing out of bounds is not a crime. It is a fairly well written article.
The article states that three people needed rescued after exiting through ski area gates.
Every ski area concessionaire’s contract I’ve seen requires at least one gate allowing access from the ski area to US Forest Service land. Consequently, the ski area cannot say the person violated any of their rules about ducking a rope or going out of bounds because it is required.
At the same time, it is legal to be on US Forest Service land unless the US Forest Service closes the land. So far, the US Forest Service only closes land to certain types of vehicles or for the land to recover. No winter closures have ever occurred to my knowledge.
California does have a statute that allows law enforcement to close land based on Avalanche risk. However, the actual authority to close US Forest Service land vests only with the US Forest Service. Here is the California Statute:
(a) Whenever a menace to the public health or safety is created by an avalanche, officers of the Department of the California Highway Patrol, police departments, or sheriff’s offices, any officer or employee of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection designated a peace officer by subdivision (g) of Section 830.2, and any officer or employee of the Department of Parks and Recreation designated a peace officer by subdivision (f) of Section 830.2, may close the area where the menace exists for the duration thereof by means of ropes, markers, or guards to any and all persons not authorized by that officer to enter or remain within the closed area.
If an avalanche creates an immediate menace to the public health, the local health officer may close the area where the menace exists pursuant to the conditions which are set forth above in this section.
(b) Officers of the Department of the California Highway Patrol, police departments, or sheriff’s offices, or officers of the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection designated as peace officers by subdivision (g) of Section 830.2, may close the immediate area surrounding any emergency field command post or any other command post activated for the purpose of abating hazardous conditions created by an avalanche to any and all unauthorized persons pursuant to the conditions which are set forth in this section whether or not that field command post or other command post is located near the avalanche.
(c) Any unauthorized person who willfully and knowingly enters an area closed pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b) and who willfully remains within that area, or any unauthorized person who willfully remains within an area closed pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b), after receiving notice to evacuate or leave from a peace officer named in subdivision (a) or (b), shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. If necessary, a peace officer named in subdivision (a) or (b) may use reasonable force to remove from the closed area any unauthorized person who willfully remains within that area after receiving notice to evacuate or leave.
(d) Nothing in this section shall prevent a duly authorized representative of any news service, newspaper, or radio or television station or network from entering the areas closed pursuant to this section.
So if you are not in California where the land was allegedly was closed, and you duck a rope to ski US Forest Service land can you be criminally charged? Yes. However, only if a specific set of facts have occurred, and this can probably never happen.
If the ski area boundary rope is on the boundary of the concessionaire’s permit with the US Forest Service then ducking the rope is not illegal. You can legally gain access to the US Forest Service land. However, the boundary rope must be on the US Forest Service land or right on the border.
However, ski areas do not place their boundary ropes on the US Forest Service land. The boundary ropes are always offset from the boundary. If you duck a rope and enter closed ski area land, then you have committed two crimes under most state statutes.
You have ducked a rope, and you have trespassed onto closed land.
More importantly don’t be an idiot. You ski or board out of bounds, that triggers a search for your butt; I hope they do find you and fine you. The hard-working VOLUNTEER men and women of county Search and Rescue units have enough idiots to find every year. Don’t add your name to their list.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
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|You are subscribed to Rulemaking for Colorado Roadless Areas Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. This information has recently been updated, and is now available.
USDA granted an 11-day extension of the comment period in response for adequate time to review documents and provide input on the proposed rule and the supplemental draft EIS over the holiday season. Notice will be published in the Federal Register.
Your comments are requested by 1/15/2016.
Comments on the SDEIS can be submitted electronically through:
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Outreach Notice – Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
Natural Resource Specialist (Recreation/Wilderness)
This is a permanent position with a duty station of Ely, Nevada
The Ely District Recreation Specialist provides expertise and advice in the administration of recreation program and projects, including developed and dispersed recreation, wilderness and recreation special uses. The Recreation Specialist is responsible for managing and maintaining recreation facilities; compiling and developing information for the recreation management database; providing expertise and advice on current recreation use, type and standards; and participating as a specialist in planning and implementation of projects on the District. The position reviews proposals for new recreation facilities or activities and recommends action; advises on recreation management plans; and coordinates activities between units and among other specialists to ensure consistency in program emphasis, development and between resource units.
The Recreation Specialist also provides input into the Forest-wide recreation budget and manages the District recreation budget. The position develops proposed natural resource management activities and coordinates and/or implements these approved management activities. The Recreation Specialist is responsible for environmental analysis reviews, reports, evaluation and preparation of environmental impact statements. The incumbent also seeks and establishes mutual working relationships with outside entities, such as Federal, State, Tribal and local agencies who partner with the Forest Service, as well as non-profit entities and recreation interest groups.
This position is zoned with two other ranger districts on the Forest, and the incumbent will have responsibility for the recreation program over nearly 3.2 million acres, including 12 wilderness areas, numerous campgrounds and picnic sites, and many miles of motorized and non-motorized trails. Duties of the position include 20% or less time supervising.
The Humboldt-Toiyabe (H-T) National Forest:
At over 6.3 million acres, the H-T is the largest National Forest in the contiguous United States. The Forest spans the entire state of Nevada, with an additional one million acres of land in the eastern part of California, along the Eastern Sierra Front.
Ely Ranger District:
The Ely Ranger District is one of the original National Forests in Nevada, before being incorporated as a Ranger District. The District covers about 1 million acres with elevations ranging from valley floors around 5000 feet to above tree line, over 12,000 feet. The District has about 20 permanent employees and about 15 seasonal employees. The District hosts a multitude of treasures to explore related to outdoor activities.
For additional information about the forest: http://www.fs.usda.gov/htnf/
For more information about the position, the community, or assistance working through the application process please contact:
Acting District Ranger
Ely Ranger District
(801) 757-7757 (cell)
If interested, please request an outreach interest form and email with your resume to Martina Barnes by August 14, 2015.
Once a vacancy announcement has been created, a notification will be sent to those that expressed interest as well as be posted in the outreach database.
The vacancy announcement for this position will be posted on the U.S. Government’s official website for employment opportunities, www.usajobs.gov
Case does an excellent job of explaining the requirements that must be met to support a motion to dismiss.
State: Oregon, United States District Court for the District of Oregon
Plaintiff: Daniel T. Stringer
Defendant: US Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture,
Defendant Defenses: Recreational Use Statute
Holding: For the Defendant
The plaintiff was with a group of people who rented snowmobiles and then drove them to the Deschutes National Forest. The plaintiff started to go snowmobiling with a group. On their way there the plaintiff took off across a field that was not with the other members of the group.
The plaintiff’s snowmobile went over a 15’ embankment where he suffered injuries.
The plaintiff sued the defendant US Forest Service for his injuries. This is the motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint because of the Oregon Recreational Use Statute.
Analysis: making sense of the law based on these facts.
The court started by explaining in detail the steps necessary to dismiss a complaint on a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss.
To begin with a “complaint must contain sufficient factual matter that “state[s] a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” A claim is plausible when “the factual allegations allow the court to infer the defendant’s liability based on the alleged conduct.” The factual allegations must present more than the “the mere possibility of misconduct.”
While considering a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept all allegations of material fact as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the non-movant. However, the Court is “not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” If the complaint is dismissed, leave to amend should be granted unless the court “determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts.”
Consequently the court can dismiss a claim when the court finds the facts, even if pleading more than simple claim of injury do not support the necessary steps to prove the plaintiff’s claim. The plaintiff’s complaint requires more than mere allegations.
The first issue was whether the United States could use a state statute as a defense to a claim.
The liability of the United States is determined “in the same manner and to the same extent as a private individual in like circumstances.” Because plaintiff’s accident occurred in Oregon, this action is governed by Oregon law.
The court then looked at the Oregon Recreational Use Statute, ORS § 105.682. Like most recreational use statutes, a landowner is not liable for injuries if they do not charge for the use of their land.
The plaintiff argued that because the defendant charged for use of the land at other locations in the Deschutes Forest the defendant, Forest Service could not rely on the recreational use statute. Here the US Forest Service charged to use the land to ski and to camp. However, the plaintiff was not camping or skiing, nor whether they are engaging in an activity at the location where fees are charged to ski or camp.
A fee charged at one end of the Deschutes National Forest cannot, as a matter of public policy, waive immunity at the other end of the same forest, thousands of miles away, simply because the government made a charge.
There must be some relationship between the fee charged and the activity which the plaintiff engaged in which caused his injury.
So Now What?
This case lays out an easy analysis to understand the requirements to win a motion to dismiss. Motions to dismiss are usually filed prior to the answer of the defendant being filed and are done so when the plaintiff’s claim fails in all respects to present any evidence which the court can find to support the claims of the plaintiff.
If the motion to dismiss is not granted the defendant is instructed to file their answer and discovery begins. After or during discovery, one or more of the parties can file a motion for summary judgment. A motion for summary judgment is normally how a case is dismissed prior to trial. Motions to dismiss are rarely granted.
In this case, the next motion would have probably been based on the fact the plaintiff assumed the risk by taking off, off the trail when he crashed.
This is also instructional in showing the defendant United States through any of its land-management agencies, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, US Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation or US Fish & Wildlife Service.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
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Daniel T. Stringer, Plaintiff, v. United States Department of Agriculture (Forest Service), Defendant.
Civ. No. 6:13-cv-1902-MC
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF OREGON
2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150168
October 21, 2014, Decided
October 21, 2014, Filed
COUNSEL: [*1] For Daniel T Stringer, Plaintiff: J. Randolph Pickett, LEAD ATTORNEY, Pickett Dummigan Rhodes, LLP, Portland, OR; Matthew D. Kaplan, Matthew D. Kaplan, LLC, Portland, OR; R. Brendan Dummigan, Pickett Dummigan Rhodes, LLP, Portland, OR; Kristen C. West, Pickett Dummigan, LLC, Portland, OR.
For United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Defendant: James E. Cox, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Portland, OR.
JUDGES: Michael J. McShane, United States District Judge.
OPINION BY: Michael J. McShane
OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Daniel Stringer was injured while snowmobiling in the Deschutes National Forest. The United States Forest Service (Forest Service), which manages the Deschutes National Forest, allows members of the public to snowmobile on approximately 600 miles of trail within the forest free of charge.
The Court is asked to consider whether the Forest Service waived sovereign immunity under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671-80. Because Stringer neither paid a “charge” nor engaged or intended to engage in an activity subject to a “charge,” this Court finds that the Forest Service did not waive its immunity. Thus, defendant’s motion to dismiss, ECF No. 10, is GRANTED. [*2]
PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
This action arises out of a snowmobile accident occurring in the Deschutes National Forest. On March 24, 2012, Stringer, along with five companions, rented five snowmobiles at a rental facility in Bend, Oregon. Compl. 3, ECF No. 1; Decl. of James E. Cox, Jr. 5, ECF No. 13-1. After receiving a 15-minute training tutorial, the group traveled to Wanoga Sno-Park. Decl. of James E. Cox, Jr. 2, ECF No. 13-3. Wanoga Sno-Park, a snowmobiling park located within the Deschutes National Forest between Bend and Mount Bachelor, is open to the public free of charge.1 See Decl. of Kevin W. Larkin 2-3, 5 ECF No. 11.
1 The state of Oregon does charge a $5 vehicle parking fee to park in the Wanoga Sno-Park parking lot. See Compl. 2-3, ECF No. 1; OREGON DEP’T OF TRANSP.,OREGON.GOV: SNO-PARK PARKING PERMITS, http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/pages/vehicle/sno_park_permits.aspx(last visited Oct. 20, 2014).
At approximately 10 a.m., Stringer and his group departed on snowmobile trail #5 heading west toward Elk Lake Resort. Decl. of James E. Cox, Jr. 5, ECF No. 13-1. Stringer operated a two person sled accompanied by his fiancee, Danielle McBurnett. Compl. 3, ECF No. 1. Between 11:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m., the group arrived at Elk Lake Resort. Decl. of [*3] James E. Cox, Jr. 5, ECF No. 13-1. After a brief break, the group decided to postpone lunch and return to Wanoga Sno-Park on snowmobile trail #5 heading east. Compl. 3, ECF No. 1; Decl. of James E. Cox, Jr. 5, ECF No. 13-1.
At approximately 12:50 p.m., the group approached a bridge at Falls Creek. See Decl. of James E. Cox, Jr. 1, ECF No. 13-1. Stringer, accompanied by McBurnett, sped up and pulled away from the group. Id. at 5. As he pulled away, Stringer left the trail and cut across an open meadow. Compl. 3, ECF No. 1. Realizing that the meadow led to an embankment of Falls Creek, Jessi Davis, a member of the snowmobiling group, sped up in an unsuccessful attempt to warn Stringer. Decl. of James E. Cox, Jr. 5, ECF No. 13-1. Stringer’s snowmobile launched over the creek and crashed into the far embankment head-on. Compl. 3, ECF No. 1. Stringer and McBurnett fell approximately 15 feet to the bottom of the ravine; resulting in extensive injuries. Id. at 3, 5. Stringer now seeks damages under the FTCA. Id. at 6.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter that “state[s] a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 167 L. Ed. 2d 929 (2007). A claim is plausible on its face when [*4] the factual allegations allow the court to infer the defendant’s liability based on the alleged conduct. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 173 L. Ed. 2d 868 (2009). The factual allegations must present more than “the mere possibility of misconduct.” Id. at 678.
While considering a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept all allegations of material fact as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Burgert v. Lokelani Bernice Pauahi Bishop Trust, 200 F.3d 661, 663 (9th Cir. 2000). However, the Court is “not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286, 106 S. Ct. 2932, 92 L. Ed. 2d 209 (1986). If the complaint is dismissed, leave to amend should be granted unless the court “determines that the pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of other facts.” Doe v. United States, 58 F.3d 494, 497 (9th Cir. 1995) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
Plaintiff, in reliance on Coleman v. Oregon Parks & Recreation Dep’t, 347 Or. 94, 217 P.3d 651 (2009), contends that defendant waived sovereign immunity under the FTCA by making a “charge” under ORS §§ 105.672(1)(a), 105.688(3). In response, defendant contests plaintiff’s interpretation of Coleman and argues that a charge was not made, and even if made, Wanoga Sno-Park is specific, separate, and distinct from any land that made such a charge.
The FTCA waives the sovereign immunity of the United States for claims based on the negligence of United States employees. 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b)(1); Yanez v. United States, 63 F.3d 870, 872 (9th Cir. 1995). The liability of the United [*5] States is determined “in the same manner and to the same extent as a private individual in like circumstances.” 28 U.S.C. § 2674. Because plaintiff’s accident occurred in Oregon, this action is governed by Oregon law. 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b)(1); Yanez, 63 F.3d at 872.
As stated in ORS § 105.676, “it is the public policy of the State of Oregon to encourage owners of land to make their land available to the public for recreational purposes . . . by limiting their liability toward persons entering thereon for such purposes . . . .” ORS § 105.6822 advances this policy by granting “immunity to landowners who open their land to the public for recreational purposes.” Coleman, 347 Or. at 97.
2 ORS § 105.682 provides:
(1) Except as provided by subsection (2) of this section, and subject to the provisions of ORS 105.688, an owner of land is not liable in contract or tort for any personal injury, death or property damage that arises out of the use of the land for recreational purposes, gardening, woodcutting or the harvest of special forest products when the owner of land either directly or indirectly permits any person to use the land for recreational purposes, gardening, woodcutting or the harvest of special forest products. The limitation on liability provided by this section applies if the principal purpose for entry upon the land is for recreational [*6] purposes, gardening, woodcutting or the harvest of special forest products, and is not affected if the injury, death or damage occurs while the person entering land is engaging in activities other than the use of the land for recreational purposes, gardening, woodcutting or the harvest of special forest products.
(2) This section does not limit the liability of an owner of land for intentional injury or damage to a person coming onto land for recreational purposes, gardening, woodcutting or the harvest of special forest products.
ORS § 105.688, however, limits the immunity provided in ORS § 105.682. ORS § 105.688 provides, in relevant part:
(3) Except as provided in subsection (4) . . . of this section, the immunities provided . . . do not apply if the owner makes any charge3 for permission to use the land for recreational purposes . . . .
(4) If the owner charges for permission to use the owner’s land for one or more specific recreational purposes and the owner provides notice in the manner provided by subsection (8) of this section,4 the immunities . . .apply to any use of the land other than the activities for which the charge is imposed. If the owner charges for permission to use a specified part of the owner’s land for recreational [*7] purposes and the owner provides notice in the manner provided by subsection (8) of this section, the immunities . . . apply to the remainder of the owner’s land.
3 ORS § 105.672(1)(a) defines “Charge” as “the admission price or fee requested or expected by an owner in return for granting permission for a person to enter or go upon the owner’s land.” This definition excludes “the fee for a winter recreation parking permit or any other parking fee of $15 or less per day.” ORS § 105.672(1)(c).
4 ORS § 105.688(8) provides:
(8) Notices . . . may be given by posting, as part of a receipt, or by such other means as may be reasonably calculated to apprise a person of:
(a) The limited uses of the land for which the charge is made, and the immunities provided under ORS 105.682 for other uses of the land; or
(b) The portion of the land the use of which is subject to the charge, and the immunities provided under ORS 105.682 for the remainder of the land.
Plaintiff contends that, under Coleman, defendant waived immunity by charging “a fee for any use of the land.” P1.’s Resp. to Def.’s Mot. to Dismiss 5, ECF No. 15 (emphasis in original). Specifically, plaintiff argues that because defendant charged third-parties5 a camping fee or a ski-lift fee within the Deschutes National Forest, defendant [*8] waived recreational immunity as to plaintiff’s injury occurring in that same forest. Id. at 5-8. This Court looks to Coleman.
5 Neither plaintiff nor any member of his snowmobiling group paid a camping fee or purchased a ski-lift ticket.
In Coleman, plaintiffs Bradley and Bonnie Coleman arrived at William M. Tugman State Park (Tugman Park) intending to camp overnight. 347 Or. at 96; Coleman v. Oregon Parks & Recreation Dep’t (Coleman App. Ct.), 221 Or. App. 484, 486, 190 P.3d 487 (2008), rev’d, 347 Or. 94, 217 P.3d 651 (2009). At that time, Tugman Park charged a fee for campsite and gazebo rental, but was otherwise open to the public free of charge. Coleman, 347 Or. at 96. Bradley, having arrived at the campsite, decided to explore the park with a friend on their mountain bikes. Coleman, 347 Or. at 96; Coleman App. Ct., 221 Or. App. at 486. While on a designated trail, Bradley rode his bike off a connected bridge, which lacked a ramp on one side. Coleman App. Ct., 221 Or. App. at 486.
The Supreme Court, in a four-to-three decision, denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment and concluded that defendant “did not establish that it made ‘no charge for permission to use’ Tugman Park.” Coleman, 347 Or. at 104. The Court further provided:
To be entitled to immunity, the landowner must make no charge for permission to use the land. If the landowner makes a charge for permission to use the its land, immunity does not apply, even if the injured person is not engaged in the use that was [*9] the basis for the charge at the time of injury. So, as in this case, if the landowner makes a charge to use a park for camping, the landowner forfeits its immunity, even if a camper is injured while biking.
Id. at 102-103 (emphasis in original). Plaintiff, in reliance on an excerpt from this quoted material, seeks to extend Coleman to the current action. This Court declines to do so.
The Deschutes National Forest comprises approximately 1.8 million acres of land, including three independent ranger districts. Decl. of Kevin W. Larkin 2, ECF No. 11. A fee charged at one end of the Deschutes National Forest cannot, as a matter of public policy, waive immunity at the other end of the same forest, thousands of miles away, simply because the government made a charge.6 See Hannon v. United States, 801 F. Supp. 323, 327 (E.D. Cal. 1992) (“The fact that somewhere else in the Inyo National Forest someone other than the plaintiff is charged for services does not negate the immunity defense throughout the Forest.”). As articulated in Coleman, there must be some requisite relationship between the fee charged and the injured plaintiff. 347 Or. at 103-104 (“As campers, plaintiffs were entitled to use all of Tugman Park, including its bike trials . . . . The state also did not establish that [*10] as a camper, plaintiffs’ use was limited to the piece of land associated with the charge.”) (emphasis added); see also Colin v. United States, No. C-99-5045 EDL, 2001 WL 776998, at *12 (N.D. Cal. May 17, 2001) (awarding summary judgment to defendant where “Plaintiff and his companions paid no fee to obtain access to the lake, either directly or indirectly”).7
6 The Coleman Court was presented with an analogous hypothetical:
Why, queries the state, would the legislature preclude recreational immunity for the owner of a 100-acre property that charged to use an equestrian riding center located on 10 acres of that land, but made 90 acres available to the public for free, when the plaintiff was injured hiking on the separate and distinct 90 acres?
347 Or. at 103. The Court declined to address the hypothetical, but indicated that “the land” as used in ORS § 105.688(2)(a) (amended 2009 and 2010), “may refer to a specific, separate, and distinct piece of real property.” Id.
7 In Colin, plaintiff was injured while diving into Lake Sonoma. 2001 WL 776998, at *1. At that time, the United States charged fees for overnight camping and boat launching. Id. at *11. Plaintiff, however, only engaged in activities that were free of charge: “day use of the swimming and picnic facilities.” [*11] Id.
Stringer, unlike the Colemans, lacked this requisite relationship. Stringer was neither a camper nor a skier;8, he was a snowmobiler. As a snowmobiler, Stringer engaged in an activity not subject to a “charge” under ORS § 105.672(1)(a). This conclusion is further supported by Justice Balmer’s dissenting opinion. In that opinion, Justice Balmer explained:
[U]nder the majority’s reasoning, if a person decided to rent a campsite (or to rent the gazebo), the state may not assert recreational immunity as to injuries suffered by that person while riding on a bike trial, but the state may assert such immunity as to a person who does not rent a campsite and who incurs an identical injury in an identical place on the land.
Coleman, 347 Or. at 109 (Balmer, J., dissenting). Stringer, like the dissent’s hypothetical non-camping bicyclist, is subject to recreational immunity. Had Stringer been either a camper or a skier, the state may have waived recreational immunity under ORS § 105.688. However, that factual scenario is not before this Court.
8 This Court reserves judgment as to whether either the camping fee or ski-lift fee qualify as “charges” under ORS § 105.672(1)(a).
For these reasons, defendant’s motion to dismiss, ECF No. 10, is GRANTED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED [*12] this 21st day of October, 2014.
/s/ Michael J. McShane
Michael J. McShane
United States District Judge