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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sign On to NEMBA's Testimony Supporting HB 6557

Sign on to NEMBA's Testimony in favor of extending liability protections to municipalities that allow for free and public recreation or Attend Judiciary Committee Hearing

Connecitcut's Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on HB 6557, An Act Concerning Liability for the Recreational Use of Land.  This bill would extend protections to munipalities that allow for public recreation.  Importantly, the new language specifically includes "bicycling" as one of the recreational uses, something NEMBA has been arguing to include.  It is important for mountain bikers to support this legislation since it will help more recreation on muncicipal properties, such as the MDC.
The hearing is tentatively scheduled for 10am, Monday, April 4th in Room 2C of the Legislative Office Building.  We urge you to attend to show support and give testimony.


Sign On to NEMBA's Testimony  Supporting HB 6557:
If you cannot attend the hearing but would still like to show your support, you may sign on to our testimony.  To do so, email NEMBA and write "I support NEMBA's Testimony" in the Subject Header".  Include your name and town, and (optionally) a short statement about why supporting this bill is important to you.  We will include all names and statements in the official testimony we provide to the Judiciary Committee.
NEMBA's Testimony:
Thank you for allowing the New England Mountain Bike Association to present testimony in support of HB 6557. 
Nearly 350,000 Connecticut residents mountain bike on natural surface, singletrack trails, and the Connecticut Chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) represents their interests.  Our organization has a wide range of programs designed to promote stewardship of public trails and healthy recreation for residents of all ages.
NEMBA strongly urges the committee to support HB 6557.  Protecting municipalities from frivolous lawsuits is critical to the economic and physical health of our communities.  Municipalities should not be penalized for providing opportunities for healthy recreation: they simply cannot afford to be dragged into court because they have opened up public property to recreation.  Similarly, our communities can not afford the consequences of not having outdoor, natural places to run, walk, and bicycle.  HB 6557 is important in helping to make our communities healthier and more livable. 
in this modern era of dwindling open space, our communities are experiencing rampant obesity among old and young alike, and a widespread disconnect to the natural world, commonly referred to as nature deficit disorder.  Municipal lands play an ever increasing role in providing recreational opportunities to our citizenry, and outdoor recreation such as mountain biking plays a significant role in combating these social problems.
This legislation will play a positive role in helping to promote healthy outdoor recreation, help Connecticut’s municipalities and their struggling budgets, and restore basic justice to the Recreational Use Statutes in our state.

 If you wish to show your support for HB 6557 and sign on to our testimony, send us an email following the instructions above.
You can read the text of HB 6557 here: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/TOB/H/2011HB-06557-R00-HB.htm.

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