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Saturday, July 03, 2010

ACTION ALERT: Public Recreation Threatened at MDC Properties.

ACTION ALERT: Public Recreation Threatened at MDC Properties.

CT NEMBA urges Connecticut mountain bikers to attend a public meeting and help convince the MDC not to close its doors to public recreation. Mountain biking is an important activity on MDC property, especially at the West Hartford Reservoir, and we need to show the MDC that we wish public access to continue.

As you may have heard, last May a Superior Court jury awarded $2.9 million to a mountain biker who was injured at the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) Reservoir property in West Hartford. In response to this surprising verdict, the MDC is considering a closure of all its lands to all recreational activities.

CT NEMBA is working with other recreation groups to prevent the closure and to support the MDC by urging the Legislature to strengthen the protections offered to individual and municipalities that allow public recreation. While Connecticut’s Recreational Liability Statute offers private individuals and utilities a high decree of liability protection, protections offered municipalities and non-profit municipal corporations, such as the MDC, have eroded over the past 15 years. This needs to be changed by the legislature.

Here’s what we wish Connecticut mountain bikers to do:

1) Sign the Online Petition urging CT’s Legislature to strengthen the Recreational Liability Law:

2) Be listed as a “Friend of the MDC” by going to the www.SaveTheMDCTrails.org. Both the online petition and the list of “friends” will show politicians that the public supports recreational access to MDC properties. You can become a “friend” here:

3) Attend the upcoming public hearing before the MDC’s Water Bureau to discuss closing MDC properties to all recreational access (not just mountain biking). We need to fill the room with cyclists who support the MDC and wish to continue to ride on MDC trails. The meeting location has changed a couple of times, though the date has been set for Tuesday, July 20th at 5:30pm. The meeting location currently is the Auditorium at the Town Hall in West Hartford. We urge you to attend. Please check out www.SaveTheMDCTrails.orgfor any last minute venue changes.

4) Pass on this Action Alert to any and everyone who enjoys riding, walking, running, skiing, bird watching, or dog walking on MDC lands. We need broad support from everyone who enjoys recreating on MDC properties.

If you have any strong personal political contacts in state government that could be useful in helping change the Recreational Liability Law, please let CT NEMBA’s Art Roti know via email: artroti@hotmail.com

Thank you for your support.

Philip Keyes
Executive Director

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