In reference to private boater issues, I posted something similar to this on the other thread too but wanted to make sure it was read on all threads.
Please read and consider that if HB1188 passes, private boaters will be in a better position to enjoy Colorado’s historically run rivers, period. If it does not pass, it potentially means real trouble for boaters as a whole.
If a landowner wants to keep people from boating through his/her "private" river but the state decides that commercial outfitters have the right to be there, it is highly unlikely that the landowner would go after private boaters on the same stretch.
The legal tact that the private landowners’ attorneys used on the Lake Fork in 2000 (which put a commercial rafting company out of business) are the same that the landowners on the Taylor River are using. They will file civil trespass charges against the licensed commercial outfitters. They don’t go after private boaters because private boaters don’t have permits, state licenses or businesses to lose. Damages are usually rewarded to the winner of civil lawsuits.
It’s difficult for private landowners to target private boaters because they don’t do permitted, licensed regulated trips. The private landowner would also have difficulty in getting compensation/damages from the private boater. If commercial outfitters lose the lawsuit, the precedent will be set and the private boaters will be next. The private landowner on the Taylor has stated that is his plan. There would be a domino effect throughout the state where all boaters could be barred from floating over private land.
Outfitters are licensed and regulated by the State of Colorado through the River Outfitting License. This bill is attached to the River Outfitting License. Private boaters are not licensed by the state of Colorado nor are they regulated by either federal or state agencies. All commercial river outfitters are licensed, and fishing outfitters also need to be licensed as wildlife outfitters.
This difference was important in getting the bill introduced because river outfitters were able to clearly define which sections they run/have run.
Among river outfitters, there is an agreement on what has been run commercially in the past. Floatable/navigable rivers and what has been historically run is an ongoing debate in the private boating community.
Please consider that if this bill does not pass; civil trespass charges can be upheld in court and could be equally as detrimental to private boaters. Sections of river that have been historically boated for decades could be “closed” by private landowners. The landowner on the Taylor River will think he has won. He will prohibit the two commercial river outfitters from rafting through his land (and you can bet he'll try to prohibit every private boater as well) and how many other landowners will jump on his bandwagon?
I hope we can count on support from everyone to make this happen. There is a new website up today with general info on the issue, a link to find your representatives, and a sample letter to send to your reps. It can just be a quick, few-line email to let them know you support the River Outfitters Viability Act, or HB 1188.
Go to Adventure Office
for the links.
Also, join the group on Facebook in support of ROVA, HB 1188 Welcome to Facebook | Facebook
Will post a little more info shortly.