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Old 03-10-2010   #1
, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 6

Just in case you didn't see this post from Patrick under the access forum...


[FONT=Arial]Today Vincent Carroll of the Denver Post voiced his support for including all boaters in House Bill 1188, but suggested that the portage right be deleted from the bill. Please post your personal experiences with dangerous man made obstacles where portaging was necessary. If you’ve encountered barbed wire, fish hooks from bridges, cables across the river, trees or obstacles that have been placed in the water, dangerous dams, tell us about it. What is the value of a right to float if a landowner can defeat that right by putting a dangerous obstruction across the river? The hearing on House Bill 1188 has been moved to Monday, March 15th. It would be nice to have a good list of examples before that hearing. Thanks.

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Old 03-10-2010   #2
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
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On cheeseman or south fork south platte above wildcat canyon the "sportsman's paradise" club installed a trash rack that is allegedly there to keep debris out of the fishing habitat. They classify kayakers as "debris" I guess. This thing exists to force portage/trespass. These guys now allow boaters (with proper coordinating) to come put on below their favorite holes. I may be able to find pictures of the structure actively trapping "debris".

In Bailey canyon there are no trespassing signs at the scout/portage trail for 4 falls, which is a (somewhat) natural rapid.


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Old 03-10-2010   #3
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
To me, trees across the river are common, and present one of the most frequent reasons for portage. Mother nature has a large supply of these. Not man made, but a good reason to need to portage clause.

Low bridges or pipes are another example of the need to portage. Pipes across the river near water level on gore creek near vail are a good example. There is a bridge across boulder creek where all the water goes through sieve looking culverts... scary... auto portage.

Another example is dams. Lots of dams require portage either due to low head dam nature, or big ass dam into a pile of rocks. Most boaters portage the dams on the big thompson.

Also, not all whitewater is 100% runnable. There are lots of rapids that are unrunnable or barely runnable that most people portage. Poudre Falls is a good example of this.
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Old 03-10-2010   #4
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Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 06
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 450
i will try to dig up a photo of hermosa diversion dam. This is immediate death and an unmarked (though not on a popular run) obstacle. I fear some day a child gets taken by the river to this...and cannot believe someone would design such horror and hope they be held responsible if something ever does happen.

I've never boated before, but I have posted a lot on Mountain Buzz!
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Old 03-10-2010   #5
San Jose, CA, California
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 432
3 fence wires in one run

When kayaking from Crested Butte to Gunnison last spring we encountered three fences across the river in different places. Only one of which was covered by the high water. Each human placed wire had the potential to create a very dangerous situation. Only one of them was actually marked with white tape the other two were only visible when we came right up on them. And if we portaged we would have been trespassing. To getting through required fairing and kayak limbo under the top wire.

Then there is the upper upper taylor. Put in a lotos creek. There is a small low lying bridge that my shredder just fits under during high water. One person lies flat in the floor while the other climbs over the bridge rail (trespassing) and across the small bridge only to jump back onto the raft as it passes under the bridge.

Most have herd about the bridge on the middle section of the taylor that scenic river tours must portage during high water.

The Lake Fork of the Gunnison is also sprinkled with fences try floating from Lake City to Blue Mesa with out portaging dangerous them its is almost impossible.

The Low hanging wires under the bridge after Number 1 in the Numbers on the Arkansas become dangerous at levels above 3,000cfs. At flows of around 5,000cfs I would flip upside in my kayak while floating under the bridge to prevent a possible snag on the wires.

The take out for the Upper A. is also and issue for those who do not want to take the train out.

The last that I will mention is just after the put in for the Virgin Narrows in Zion. There is a full barbed wire fence that crosses the river and a backpacking trail and gate to the right of it for hikers and boaters to portage around.
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Old 03-10-2010   #6
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The High Ground, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2008
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3/4s to a mile above the Taylor Reservoir the river is cross fenced twice in Class III on a tight turn. You won't see it till you're in it. Very dangerous.
"Let us cross the river to the other side and rest beneath the shade of the trees." ~ Last words of Thomas Jonathan ''Stonewall' Jackson
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Old 03-11-2010   #7
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Boulder, Colorado
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Last year on the commonly run sections of Daisy creek through the Slate River in Crested Butte our group encountered 2 mesh wire fences across the creek that were entirely impassable at river level and quite dangerous if you were not quick to spot them as they were in fast moving current. We also encountered 2 river wide log jams that required portaging. These were also cases where in years past the passage was completely clear so there was no knowledge of needing to portage until committing to the run.

Logs requiring portaging are very common. Oftentimes the cause is natural, but sometimes the wood in the river can be the result of man made operations. I know Willow Creek in Steamboat frequently has wood requiring portaging and as a result has been the site of landowner conflicts, but these conditions can be present on almost any river in Colorado.

The Eagle River has a low bridge in the town of Red Cliff that cannot be safely passed under at higher water levels.

Boulder Creek near the Red Lion built a new bridge on top of an old collapsed bridge creating a dangerous sieve that must be portaged.

Clear Creek near Lawson, just below the new playpark has 2 pipes through the bridge which can be impassable at higher flows to kayaks and maybe always impassable to other crafts.

Ten Mile Creek has a bridge with pipes below it which become questionable to pass through at higher flows (same as above).

Those are a few I can think of off the top of my head.
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Old 03-11-2010   #8
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Wherever there are rocks and water, there is a potential that the combination will create a natural unnavigable rapid, the status of which can change with flows. Blatant examples would be the lower Rockwood Box of the Upper Animas, Millers Falls of the Crystal River, and every 10th rapid on your favorite class V river or creek.

Wood is a problem wherever there are trees near rivers, which is nearly everywhere in Colorado. It might be in the way on Saturday, and flushed downstream by Sunday, and if its in the way you have to portage. That said, kayakers do everything they can to not portage, sometimes even boofing over logs, although that is generally not considered a safe practice.

There is an ugly man made falls on upper Castle Creek, ugly dams or weirs on the South Platte river in Denver, Clear Creek Lower section (x2), Fish Creek, Gunnison River, Colorado River, ugly bridge pillars or low bridges on the Poudre River (tons), Animas River, Eagle River, Fish Creek, Arkansas River, Roaring Fork, etc.

Whitewater river sections that have barb wire issues: Plateau Creek, Buzzard Creek, Kannah Creek, Escalante Creek, Alamosa River, Taylor River, Uncompahgre River, West Fork Clear Creek, etc.

Plenty of reasons to portage in our fine state, and as long as people run rivers, people will have a need out of safety to portage.

Here's a scenario. There's a log across the river. Option A is to quickly get out of your boat above it, walk over it at the shoreline, and get in below to continue downstream. Option B is to attempt to run it, flip and die. People are going to portage.

Next scenario takes place at the crux IV- rapid of the run. Not being allowed to SCOUT (since I'm assuming this is kind of under the same rules as portaging... thou shall not touch dirt) all of the class III boaters swim and yardsale all of their gear downstream. So now rather than a quick scout, and maybe a portage, they spend the next several hours walking along the entire bank of the river collecting their gear, and disturbing all of the landowners of the area as they blast their whistle repeatedly until someone hits them in the head with a turkey leg. Intelligent people are going to scout, and landowners should want them too.

Seems to me the portage thing is confusing to the non-paddler folk. Scouting on the other hand shouldn't be so confusing.

The house on Lake Creek that sits above Paralyzer and Kiss Me is an amazing example of the relationship that can be created with cool landowners. Yet, I clearly remember what it's like to float through fisherman's paradise into Cheesman Canyon and have the anglers cast their lines at you and your friends in an attempt to hook you. When it comes to a resource as valuable as rivers, we can't leave our fate in the hands of just a few landowners. The value of my land as a Colorado resident is affected by Colorado laws protecting the public's right to recreate in our valuable and unique natural resources.
Kyle McCutchen
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Old 03-11-2010   #9
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West of Boulder, Colorado
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Off the top of my head - North fork Poudre River - several barb wire fences, river wide tree on Upper Taylor, below Lottis Creek, Big Tommy Upper section barb ware and river wide downed trees.

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