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South Dakota Bill Granting Immunity to Campground Owners Up for Governor’s Signature

South Dakota Legislature chambers have approved a bill granting immunity to campground owners whose guests are subject to inherent risks that camping brings, like birds, bugs, and tree stumps.

As per a report, the owners claim that the pandemic and South Dakota’s open invitation to people out of state led to an increase of campers who are not familiar with the unpredictability of nature.

Mary Arlington, executive director of the South Dakota Campground Owners Association and a former campground owner, testified in both House and Senate Judiciary Committees in favor of the bill, which reduces the possibility of lawsuits against campsite owners.

Arlington claimed that the bill does not deal with gross negligence. The issue is the varying and unpredictable nature of meadows and woods that have led to many lawsuits regarding conditions that are beyond the campground’s control.

“We visited with industry insurance carriers, and they confirmed they’ve seen lawsuits on such natural situations as bee stings and mosquito bites,” Arlington said.

Arlington stated that many campers are natives of South Dakota. However, there’s been a recent surge of people who are not South Dakotans.

“Given the pandemic’s call to the outdoors for social time and vacations, these inexperienced campers have come out like crazy.”

Arlington stated that these campers expect comfort that the realities of nature simply can’t provide.

House Bill 1176 lays out the full list of hazards, including trees and tree stumps, uneven terrain, weather, wild animals, roots, rocks, mud, sand, and the absence of street lights.

The bill requires owners of campgrounds to display a notice of known dangers and an assurance of their immunity from liability in the event of accidents or deaths that result from the inherent risks of camping.

The bill will now go to the governor’s office for signature.

This story originally appeared on South Dakota Public Broadcasting.

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May 12, 2024 2:11 pm

Isn’t it cool news for South Dakota campers? The bill’s passing is a win for creating a safer camping vibe. Let’s keep the outdoor adventures rolling with awareness and transparency!


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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: South Dakota Bill Granting Immunity to Campground Owners Up for Governor's Signature! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/south-dakota/south-dakota-bill-granting-immunity-to-campground-owners-up-for-governors-signature/