Great Plains' ecotourism initiative produces liability study

Great Plains' ecotourism initiative produces liability study

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The Center for Great Plains Studies has issued a new report to help rural, nature-based tourism providers in Nebraska understand their legal liability.

The center conducted interviews with ecotourism business owners, who reported that questions surrounding legal liability were common hurdles for them because they lacked access to sources of reliable information.

To meet this need, the center worked with Anthony Schutz, associate professor in the University of Nebraska College of Law, to produce and distribute a briefing titled "Rural Landowner Liability for Recreational Activities in Nebraska." The handout outlines standards that govern landowner liability for eco- and agri-tourism providers who are concerned about their vulnerability to liability claims.

Written in an easy-to-understand style, the guide is meant for landowners, insurance professionals, ancillary businesses and anyone interested in the ecotourism industry. A more detailed version is also available for law professionals.

The report is available here.

The takeaway is generally positive, Schutz said.

"The lesson that emerges is that, most often, landowners simply must act reasonably when it comes to protecting people from dangers that exist on their properties. And, in many instances, landowners need only refrain from recklessly endangering visitors," he writes in the introduction. The guide goes into detail on what those standards of reasonableness and recklessness include and practical steps landowners may take to protect themselves.

Schutz is a 2003 graduate of the College of Law who joined the faculty in 2006. During law school, he worked for Cline, Williams, Wright, Johnson and Oldfather in Lincoln. He is widely recognized as an expert on agricultural law, environmental and natural resources law, and state and local government.

The Center for Great Plains Studies operates the Great Plains Ecotourism Coalition, a project committed to promoting environmental conservation and building thriving communities through nature-based tourism in the Great Plains. The coalition works to market the region, share information and connect nature-based entrepreneurs with one another and the University of Nebraska, creating opportunities for collaboration, learning and economic growth.