Briana Heaney Published

Senate Passes Bill That Protects Rails To Trails Landowners

A student wearing a tie-dye sweater and a white helmet rides a bicycle through a forest. He is followed by another student, also wearing a white helmet and white sweater, as well as an adult in a short sleeved t-shirt and a lime-green helmet.
The rail trails are for nonmotorized recreational trail use that includes bicycles, e-bikes, hiking, cross country skiing, horseback riding, riding a horse-drawn wagon, jogging, and other activities.
Maddie Swecker

A Rails-to-Trails bill passed the Senate today and could open more recreational trails in the state. 

Senate Bill 196, aims to encourage railway landowners to permit unused tracks to become trails for recreational use. 

Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan, authored the bill and said it would give liability protection to a railway landowner whose land is being used for the rail trail program. 

“That’s something that always concerns, you know, any owner of land,” Trump said. “If somebody gets hurt on his or her property, they might get sued. And that’s the fundamental purpose of the bill to try to create opportunities for expansion of rail trails and recreational opportunities for people.”

Trump said the legislation came at the request of the Berkeley County Commission to incentivize the development of rail trails.