In an opinion issued this morning, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled the immunities afforded to landowners under the recreational use statute (Minn. Stat. 604A.20 et seq.) are only available to those landowners who open their private lands to the public without charge. The term “public,” according to the court, is akin to the term “community,” and means more than a few family members as was contended in this case. Because the legislative purpose of the statute is “to promote the use of privately owned lands and waters by the public for beneficial outdoor recreational purposes,” a landowner who opens its lands to a small number of individuals, but not the “public,” cannot hide behind the immunity shield afforded by the recreational use statute.
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