As someone who was there first hand, and spent nearly an hour trying to explain our situation to a couple of Law Enforcement individuals, here is what I can tell you about the other night:
*We didn't have a permit and admitted that we were wrong. They explained that the permit process for charity events is much easier than commercial permitting, and we agreed that we will do the right thing next year and get one.
*They were sympathetic to our cause, but were concerned about safety issues, which we understood.
*After telling us that what we were doing was not OK and that we needed to shut things down, she then told us that we had pulled at her heartstrings and maybe she would back down and let us go ahead with the event. But that we may face a court appearance and/or fines if we wanted to do so.
This was all very confusing and we decided we would be cautious and scrap it, because if we were to pay $500 to anyone it was going to be First Descents and not court fees.
*She came prepared with print outs from Eddy Flower and the Vertical Challenge with all of our names, donations and vertical feet paddled; but likely did not read anything on the website to understand how the contest works, which is: (1) teams compete to paddle the most vertical feet in a one-month span, and (2) teams compete to raise money and awareness for an incredible cause. From her point of view, looking at our stats, she believed that we were getting donations directly for paddling rivers that we did not have permits to raise money on, in which case she found the entire contest questionable. If money is to be raised on a river in FS jurisdiction, only people with permits should be making that money. Of course, our vertical feet paddled on any river are not directly in connection with any money made because all donations at this point are flat-fee donations. People are donating money to FD under the name of our team, and not donating money for us to paddle any particular stretch of river.
*The USFS was called by someone in particular who asked them to come put a stop to the race. She said something like 'people all up and down this river got wind of this, and the rafting companies too, and we got a call to come put an end to this event'. There are 5 permit-holders on the Poudre. We know that 3 of those 5 did not make the call...that leaves 2, and I won't name any names, but process of elimination gives us an idea.
I don't want this to be a shit-talking thread about who owns or doesn't own the river or who called and what we should do about it. There is already enough animosity on our river regarding these issues. For years, we've gotten the feeling that the rafting companies believe that because they have the permits, they are essentially the owners of the Poudre. But really, we all know that each of us owns a part of this river, we do our best to take care of each other on it and be good stewards of the environment, and fight to keep it the incredible resource it is. A wild & scenic river.
We will sort it out with them and do the right thing next year to make it right and everyone can come out and join in the FUNdraising. In the meantime, the whole point of this is to raise money for a commendable cause. One that is close to many of our hearts. If you want to help, you can go here (Make a Donation
) and donate on behalf of Team Poudre Puff.