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Old 07-16-2013   #61
Abron Cabron
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 594
that is just so frickin cool. You rock, sir. Way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat....!

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Old 07-17-2013   #62
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
Hell yeah folks! So pumped to get it done and to see to community blow up in excitement over this. Unbelievable. I feel like we just won the river stewardship lottery!

Foley Falls sounds way better than Foley Swims, which I think is my other namesake. I hope this doesn't mean I have to start running (or swimming) First Falls now. I'm honored, and humbled. Awesome all around.

Also, I expect we might see some angry landowners who don't like this one bit. Know that you are on public property at Four Falls, and take it in stride. I'll have a letter from the Forest Service and the BLM in my drybag, and I'll notify the Sheriff of the land status change as well to make sure everyone is on the same page.

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Old 07-17-2013   #63
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 772
Nice work Ian!

I would suspect the neighbors are going to be pissed losing a significant piece of land they thought was theirs for a long time. I would be surprised if there isn't confrontation in the future over this and I hope as a community we take the high road.
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Old 07-17-2013   #64
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
Yep, we will take the high road.

The landowners will be pissed.

I should note that the BLM survey is 100% legally binding, and there is pretty much no fighting it. End of story. Also, folks may wonder about adverse possession, whereby long time users of land can make a claim to it based on historical use. Adverse possession works for private to private, and private to state, but it does not work for private to federal. Federal land is federal land. End of story. The forest service told me stories of folks that had houses on federal land that didn't realize. Sorry.

From a pracitcal perspective, the only thing that changes is the ability of the neighbors to bust our chops at Four Falls. The neighbors still have backyard access to forest service land that no one except paddlers can access. We will all still use the Falls area. So the neighbors don't have the ability to use the land take away from them, they just have the power to control how we use the land taken away from them.

I plan to reach out with an olive branch once the final letters are sent. Its the best I can do to start up the high road.
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Old 07-17-2013   #65
one legged wonder's Avatar
Ouray & Buena Vista & Winter Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 292
IAN!!!!! You kill it man. Thank you so much for all the work that you do for our community!!! Counting down the days till bailey fest!!!
!*!*!*!*!*Heidi Jo*!*!*!*!*!!
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Old 07-17-2013   #66
4CRS, Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 295
Nice work Ian, way to get shit done. Can we get the USFS to post a sign that says something like "Warning: Foley Falls Ahead! Please get out and Scout
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Old 07-17-2013   #67
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steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 418
Am I wrong, or don't those maps show the "neighbors" owning land adjacent to the river upstream? I suppose they could retaliate by trying to hinder downstream passage. Landowners own the land to the middle of the stream, unless they own both sides, in any event landowners own the air space above their land for a reasonable height (100 feet?). I don't think a barbed wire fence across the river is illegal. More than ever, we should be on our best behavior now that the hive has been kicked.

Thanks again for you heroic efforts on this Ian!
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Old 07-17-2013   #68
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
Yeah, the neighbors own the upstream land that is class II/III just before you drop in to four falls. My take is that we don't get out there, therefore we will not be tresspassing.

There is the possibility of some sort of retaliation there, but I view that as low risk. The recent episodes on the Taylor give us a good example that powerful folks with money and lawyers couldn't stop the floaters after trying to erect impediments to floating, and I don't think that they will be able to do that here either.

I have gotten a few calls and emails from folks who are concerned about retaliation. I'd like point out that the vast majority of players in and around this issue fully support kayakers and bailey fest. On the positive side: park county planning, park county sheriff, Town of Bailey, BLM, Forest Service, two major upstream landowners, and one of the neighbor landowners. On the against side: Its just two people. There will always be people who are against you, but as long as they can't stop you, its not a huge threat.
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Old 07-19-2013   #69
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Email exchange with the neighbors today. Pretty positive on my mind.

Hi Suzanne,

Thanks for the note. I'm happy to hear that you will respect the updated survey markings. This thankfully removes the complication of private ownership where we need to scout and or portage.

I agree with your stewardship comments about bank erosion, and I think that continuing to manage this is a good idea. I'll continue to communicate this to the paddling community.

I also agree that minimizing the old railway wall impact is a good thing, which we will try to do. I will communicate this to the paddling community as well.

Safety is a major concern. I've got a trained medical team on board at bailey Fest and the vast majority of our paddlers are highly skilled paddlers with good judgement and good rescue skills. Due to the nature of our sport, similar to skiing, climbing, or other action sports, injuries will unfortunately occur, but paddlers assume that risk.

I think you misunderstand our community to a degree but I won't belabor that. We don't egg each other on to do unsafe things, quite the opposite. We do cheer for each other though, which could be misconstrued by outsiders. We also don't drink or get intoxicated prior to paddling. We save the beer and the party for after paddling. Developing the skills to paddle the north fork typically requires years of practice combined with sound judgement and consistent safe behavior.

I received multiple reports from good friends about disparaging remarks made about me personally, including the comment that I needed to die. Perhaps things got lost in translation in the heat of the exchanges. Regardless, it's water under the bridge and of little concern.

Regarding hiking out upstream across your property I'll be happy to suggest that paddlers hike 7 miles downstream to avoid issues. Of course each individual makes their own decisions that I am not in the position to control.

Finally, I know that paddlers and the neighboring landowners will both still use the area around four falls. I'd like to work to make sure that we can all enjoy this area responsibly for years to come. I'd like to have an amicable relationship with you and the other neighbors, and I have asked the paddling community to respect all landowners and treat them like neighbors. If there are things we can work on together to improve things I am willing to give it a shot. I would also be happy to relay any messages from local landowners to the paddling community when issues arise.


On Jul 19, 2013, at 7:38 AM, "Suzanne van Hall" <> wrote:

Dear Ian

Last weekend some owners noticed new Forest Service signage at Rivercliffe and increased kayak activity by Four Falls. I checked out Mountainbuzz,com (as you suggested several years ago) and saw your post on correcting the property boundary.

We understand the BLM Survey dropped our north property boundary from that shown on the maps and posted before, and we will of course respect the results of the posted survey.

Having said that: let's talk a bit about responsible stewardship.

1. Bank erosion: as you know, we have built stairs and marked them so kayakers get out at designated points. We did this because we had noticed erosion when kayakers were disembarking at multiple points.

2. Road erosion: in the second year of the Bailey Fest, we lost part of the rock wall holding up portions of the old railroad bed because too many people were clambering on the edge. We addressed this by insisting people not hang out in large groups and by taping off the edge to discourage people from standing there.

3. Safety: as you know from our e-mails and conversations, our major point of contention has been safety. We insisted on crowd control so that groups of kayakers were not egging each other on to try feats of rapid running beyond their level of expertise.

None of these efforts should be abandoned, regardless of who owns the property.

Let's also talk about correcting the record a bit. You claimed Michael or I said you should die. That is not true. What we have told you repeatedly and will say again is that you are creating unsafe conditions with the drinking and crowd encouragement to show off and that one of you will die. We dread the accidents. We see the kayakers with the dislocated shoulders, concussions, sprained ankles. Last year, there were more serious injuries than the ones you reported. We had groups of kayakers on our property (not by Four Falls), limping out with their broken boats and bruised faces and reeking of alcohol. We do not want the Flight for Life landing in our pasture to haul away a limp body. So, don't juice up your story by suggesting we threatened you with death; tell the truth that we fear the consequences of party kayaking.

And think about your advice to hike upriver if a kayaker loses equipment near Four Falls. You are telling the kayakers to trespass on our property. Do you really want to do that? You need a better plan than that.

We hope you enjoy Bailey Fest and that you and your fellow kayakers work on responsible stewardship and safety.

Suzanne F. van Hall
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Old 07-19-2013   #70
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,012
Thanks for your continued diplomacy, Ian.

To the Four Falls neighbors, you have this paddler's commitment to be a responsible steward of this public land.

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