This item was listed in Nick Smith’s HFHC newsletter yesterday. The trailhead in question is a few miles from my home. I walked the footbridge before the USFS stopped installing it each spring. Without the footbridge, hikers must ford the Sandy River, a glacier-fed stream that often is to fast and furious to cross.
The court’s opinion is interesting for its mention of USFS “parking fees” in the form of day-use fees and passes, which I think the USFS has been at pains to avoid calling “parking fees.” Also, an Oregon state law worked in the USFS’s favor: “a property owner is immune from tort liability if it charges a parking fee of less than $15 for use of its land.” Why $15? I have no idea.
CHICAGO — In a case arising from a man’s drowning on U.S. Forest Service property in Oregon, the Seventh Circuit ruled that a $5 pass qualifies as a parking fee of less than $15, and the government is thus immune from tort liability. The man drowned after a logjam ruptured, sending a tall wave and debris at a seasonal bridge across the Sandy River while the man and his friend were crossing.
Read the opinion here.