Navigation rights make a splash in landowner’s skirmish with river rafters

By Jessica Fender
The Denver Post

A skirmish between a Texas developer and two rafting outfitters on the Taylor River could throw the futures of Colorado’s rafting companies into jeopardy and leave a lasting imprint on the rights of riverfront landowners. Read more

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2 Responses to Navigation rights make a splash in landowner’s skirmish with river rafters

  1. Mark Starosciak says:

    What – if anything – is TU doing to support 1188. Sounds like something we should be backing. The danger here is LESS access rather than more if the boys from TX win.

    • buffalopeaks says:

      Mark, thanks for your comment…

      Debates over the “right to float” are a recurring matter in Colorado and the pot has been stirred again in recent months. A landowner along the Taylor River is looking to eliminate floating past his property, believing that the ongoing rafting and float-fishing activity on the Taylor constitutes trespass. Commercial outfitters – along the Taylor and on other rivers – see that as a threat to the future of their businesses, and are pursuing legislation to trump that effort and establish an unambiguous legal right for their continued operations. Colorado Trout Unlimited will not be taking a position on this dispute – as a matter of national Trout Unlimited policy, and in order to preserve our ability to work with interests on both sides of this debate on our core, shared interest of stream conservation. Protection and restoration of our rivers requires unified support from a broad base of interests – individual anglers, riparian landowners, commercial outfitters, resource managers – whereas disputes over rights of access often divide those interests. Trout Unlimited avoids participation in access disputes not because the issues are not important, but because they are divisive and our participation under the TU banner would weaken our ability to unite these divergent groups behind our core mission of fisheries conservation.

      This does not mean that TU members cannot be heavily engaged in these issues themselves. Individual TU members are free to speak out on issues that concern them – we simply ask that if you do weigh in on this issue that you do not do so in the name of Trout Unlimited. Individuals can also coordinate with other organizations that are focused on these issues (such as the Colorado River Outfitters Association, which is supporting legislation to allow continued commercial floating, or the Creekside Coalition which represents riparian landowners).

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