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Old 09-08-2005   #1
Tim Kennedy
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Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 106
Gore Canyon and RR Tracks help

Hey all,

I am posting here to ask for everyone's help in self-policing in regards to the railroad tracks in Gore Canyon.

Due to the activities during the Gore Race, I feel it is in everyone's best interest to not only stay off the tracks themselves, but to also help keep others off of the tracks.

This shouldn't be hard to do. When I say "tracks", I am refering to not only the rails and ties but also the level grade surrounding the tracks themselves. The railroad considers the surrounding grade within 30 to 50 feet of the tracks on either side their property as well. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON FOR ANY BOATERS IN THE CANYON TO BE ON THE TRACKS OR SURROUNDING GRADE (Unless it is a medical emergency requiring evacuation).

The area that this seems to still be an issue with some is around Gore Rapid. When scouting or portaging please do so from river level. The "Meat line" and "Professor" can be scouted from river left from the "staging eddy" and the "Sneak" can be scouted or portaged from river right by getting out of your boat near the big black rock in the pool above and walking at river level on the right bank to "safety rock". Please do not get out of your boat and walk up the bank to the railroad grade. Gore rapid is a better scout from river level. It is also an easier portage at river level either on the left or right. If you don't go up to the tracks, you don't have to deal with the sketchy descent back to river level on the loose rock and dirt slope above Scissors. We have been doing it this way with commercial trips in the canyon for at least the last four season and it works well and is very easy to do.

A frequent response I have recieved from people on the railroad grade at Gore Rapid when I ask them to please get off of the tracks is "I'm not on the tracks!" Well I know and they know that they aren't on the rails, but the engineer in the train coming up the canyon cannot tell the difference between someone on the tracks and on the surrounding grade from his perspective around the bend in the engine. He can only hope that that person is not on the rails. He also sees people on the grade and rafts and others at river level and assumes that the people on the grade are "rafters with ____ rafting company". We can all avoid any confusion by not going up on the railroad grade at all. Stay below the elevation of the tracks and surrounding grade.

We have always had a fragile relationship in Gore between the Railroad Management and river running community in relation to spectating and scouting. This was very evident at the last Gore Race. Also evident was the ability of Railroad Mgmt to apply pressure and influence to the BLM higher-ups in regards to policing their property in the canyon. However, as far as utilizing the railroad during emergency situations, they have always be very generous, polite and accomodating. To continue a good relationship with the railroad for when they might be called upon in emergency situations, we need to respect their property and avoid tresspassing on it when it is unnecessary to do so.

Please, stay off of the railroad grade in Gore Canyon and help by asking others river runners in the canyon to do the same. (Next, maybe we can work on getting the railroad to stop throwing trash, ties, cable etc. down into the river.)


P.S. Before anyone starts getting any ideas about posting a "commercial rafter vs. private boater" rant. Yes, I work as a commercial raft guide and safety kayaker. When I am not working, I go kayaking. Which also makes me a private boater. I even volunteer to safety boat for races and other river events. Whenever I am on any river for work or as a private boater, I am always willing to help anyone on the river with suggestions, advice, guidance in relation to lines, rescue, access, shuttles etc. regardless of where they are from, what craft they are in, or what day of the week it is.

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Old 09-08-2005   #2
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 9
true true

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Old 09-08-2005   #3
ski/kayak bum
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 460
maybe the river cleanup and no litter policy should be a precondition of cooperation with the railroad rather than an after thought! The railroad nor the BLM owns the water and they shouldn't be allowed to trash it or impeed its flow!

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Old 09-08-2005   #4
Tim Kennedy
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Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 106

I know that the BLM and railroad do not own the water and agree that they should not be allowed to "trash it or impede it's flow". However, the trash in the canyon is a problem that is secondary to an unfavourable standing with the railroad and the (albeit remote) possible loss of our current access point.

History in the area has shown that the railroad can exert great influence on the area land owners. Partially due to a couple of fisherman being hit and killed by trains in the eighties, the railroad became aware of access to the canyon from river right near the gauging station. You could drive almost all the way to the canyon cross the tracks and put in. I believe that they contacted the landowner who owns the ranch through which the road is located (Grand River Ranch ?). Subsequently river access through his land and crossing of the tracks was denied and enforced by the Grand Co. Sheriff's Dept, railroad and landowner.

As a result, boaters then had to put in at the current access point. At the time, the access road traveled across land belonging to the Youst family and the put in was either BLM or even owned by the Youst's. It was common practice to stop at Jim's house on the west side of the Blue and inform and/or ask to use the put-in. The Youst's have always been very friendly and willing to let boaters use the road as long as they "knew the rules". The rules were simple: no camping at the put-in, pack out your trash, stay on the road, close the gate and most importantly stay in the river, do not walk on ranch property to cut through switchbacks in the river. (With the exception of closing the gate, all the rules still apply)

A few years ago, the BLM either purchased or offered to manage the right of way. This was due in part to increased use of the put in that was recorded in the log book. The road was improved, toilet built, cattle guard installed at the gate. Signs have been installed at the put in road and at Pumphouse with a map of Gore. Sweet! This was evidence of the Kremmling BLM's office support of growing recreational river running through Gore Canyon. And a far cry from several years ago (1993) when I told a friend who guided on the Pumphouse run that I was racing through Gore and coming back to work for a raft company up there. He said I was full-of it. "Big Gore Canyon is unrunnable. No one goes up there!" The Kremmling BLM rocks!

The Kremmling BLM has been a tremendous supporter of access to Gore. We should be grateful for their support (John, Ryan, Matt, etc.). What happened on race day was a result of meetings held by persons and commitees that are higher up in the chain of command in the railroad, BLM, and law enforcement. It was a huge misunderstanding/overreaction/misinterpretation of what was needed and requested to allow the event to happen. But, even though they can't prevent us from floating on a public right waterway, they can legally prevent access to said waterway through their land.

The only reason I could ever forsee anyone wishing to prevent access to Gore would be due to TRESPASSING ISSUES. I am merely stating that jeopardizing this run because of NEEDLESS AND UNNECESSARY TRESPASSING is just plain stupid and easily avoidable. The next upstream access point is where Hwy 9 crosses the river, another 4 miles of flatwater above the Blue.

The trash in the canyon is an annoyance and maybe sometimes a minor hazard (which can be removed or avoided with basic river rescue and running skills) . But, it does not justify anyone needlessly travelling on the railroad grade. If we remain in good graces with the railroad, maybe we can work together on a river clean-up. It'd beat haulin' the trash out by river. The guys on the trains and in the work trucks are really nice and get a kick out of us running the rapids.

All I am asking is stay off the tracks and railroad grade (and Youst land). (And try to cleanup your dog poo at Pumphouse please)

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Old 09-08-2005   #5
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
I haven't run Gore in the last 2 years, but it would be a great idea to post the trespassing issue and request to stay off the grade at both the access points as well as right at the traditonal scout eddy. Excuse me if this has already been done.

The requst to stay of the rr grade entirely is new to me. I have always shown folks how to scout the rapid from the grade and never considered doing so from river level.

Thanks for enlightening us.
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Old 09-08-2005   #6
ski/kayak bum
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 460
as you've shown its more complicated then first appearances. Thanks for the clarification and your hard work.

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Old 07-27-2010   #7
Tim Kennedy
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Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 106
I posted this almost five years ago. I suspect that some folks might need a reminder. So, I thought I might bump it back up to the top.

With most of the other rivers dropping, Gore is seeing a bit of an increase in traffic right now. The Gore Race is coming up soon as well. It is scheduled for Saturday, August 28th, 2010. Visit Vail River Rafting and Jeep Tours | Timberline Tours for details.

Please stay off of the railroad tracks in Gore Canyon. Also, please stay in the river and off of the private land during the flatwater paddle in to Gore.

(I can elaborate, but I would hope by now, it isn't necessary.)

Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
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Old 07-27-2010   #8
e-town, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
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Old 07-27-2010   #9
KVBA TV8 Vail weatherman/Colorado Kayaker, Colorado
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Send a message via MSN to hobie
Hopefully the lazy crew that cut Jim's property this Sunday will read this.
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Old 07-27-2010   #10
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Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,507
if someone cant handle the 3/4 mle paddle in, they shouldnt be on the run

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