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Old 02-12-2004   #11
Mike Harvey's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 805
A couple of things:
1. The ICP is before the State Parks Board at this point. So AHRA is out of the direct decision making from that standpoint although I am sure that the State Parks Board will make it decesion based on AHRA Staff reccomendations.
2. Neither State Parks Board or AHRA can simply reduce the number of companies to 45. By raising the minimum fee and the fee to transfer a permit they simply can put measures into place that make people who own a small company decided whether or not it is worth selling the company or keeping it at the new, higher minimum fee, or retiring their permit to the state and selling their user days and gear. Here is the key part of this to me. Each outfitter pays 5.25% of each client's gross fee to AHRA so for any outfitter that grosses more than $50,000 a summer there is no change. Do you think that $50,000 gross in one year of any business is very much money? No. I owned a company on the Ark for four years and our best year we grossed just over $50,000 and I lived off my girlfriends tips from rafting with a bigger company. So to me it is just a basic question...what is it worth to hold a permit on the nation's number one river? $400? No way. People have the right to stay small by choice but that choice should cost them more than $400.
3. So to answer your question...the Outfitters can't just pull those boats back (they don't technically "own" that allocation of use), all they can do is what we can do, negotiate and haggle and at the end of the day AHRA and the State Parks Board is going to weigh all of that input and do what they think is best for the greatest number of people (mixed with a healthy does of politics as well I'm sure).
I hope they accept some version of this plan because having worked closely with AHRA and the Citizen's Task Force I can tell you that it is nearly impossible for AHRA to make really profound decisions because they are listening to so many diverse voices. It would be great to see them so something this radical that, in my opinion, would have a positive effect on the river and the local communities, in the balance.

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Old 02-19-2004   #12
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 16
News Release

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Integrated
Concept Plan presented to Colorado State Parks Board

DENVER, Co—On Feb. 13 the Colorado State Parks Board met at Cherry Creek State Park to discuss the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) Integrated Concept Plan (ICP). The ICP is designed to provide assistance in resolving a number of Private Boat and Special Use Agreement issues that have been brought to the attention of Colorado State Parks and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The plan is a collaborative solution involving Colorado State Parks, the BLM, the AHRA Citizen’s Task Force, the Arkansas River Outfitters Association, private boater groups and the general outdoor recreation public. Adoption of the ICP could lead to modifications of the 2001 Arkansas River Recreation Management Plan.
Prior to the board meeting, four public meetings were held in Leadville, Salida, Canon City and Denver to discuss the proposals outlined within the ICP. The comments received at these meetings were utilized to draft a revised version of the ICP that was presented to the Colorado State Parks Board. The revised version is available for public comment on the Web at under the link entitled “AHRA Integrated Concept Plan.” Public comment on the revised ICP can be sent via email or physical mail until March 5 at 5:00 p.m. Specific email and physical addresses at which comments will be received isare listed on the Web site. Following this comment period the Colorado State Parks Board will consider adoption of the revised ICP at their March 25-26 meeting in Canon City.
The 2001 Arkansas River Recreation Management Plan began in the spring of 1998 as a revision of the original management plan developed in 1989 as part of the establishment of the AHRA. The AHRA stretches 150 miles along the river from its headwaters near Leadville down to Lake Pueblo State Park. Both the 1989 and 2001 plans were products of comprehensive public involvement processes. The complete 2001 plan is available on the Web at by using the Park Quick Find and selecting Arkansas Headwaters and then selecting Management Plan from the left-hand menu.

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Old 02-20-2004   #13
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 14
Doesn't anyone else think we should try to manage ourselves?

While I'm not excited about seeing more commercial boats on the Numbers, overall I think the plan is a great compromise for the community.

My guess is that this plan will buy a few years before we trigger a permit system again ---Unless we manage our usage. If we're smart, we'll use the next few years to develop an alternative to a permit system.

Here's my idea.....

Each weekend/Holiday day has a sign-in sheet for each of the main launch points for Brown's. Each site has artificial launch slots and we ask boaters to check-in before launching.

As an example, we'd artificially allocate:
- 125 slots for Ruby Mtn,
- 75 slots for Fisherman's Bridge
- 40 slots for other locations

The allocations should change as we collect data on where people launch.

If I wanted to run Brown's w/ friends, we'd probably drive to Ruby Mtn. If the sign-in sheet said 122 boats had launched and my group had 4 people, then we'd have 3 options.
1) Choose a different stretch of river,
2) Check the other launch locations, or
3) run the river anyway.

Hopefully the majority of boaters would choose option 1 or 2. I don't know whether private boaters would show the discipline to use this system, but it's a low cost experiment that could forestall a permit system for a long time. I don't understand why people aren't thinking about some type of plan. We have a few years so we ought to start testing and tweaking self-management plans. The beauty of starting now is that we can compare the self-management sign-in sheets with the AHRA boat counts to see how well the system is working. While it wouldn't be a guarantee, if the system is proven to control our numbers to 240 +/- a small error rate, then hopefully that would be adequate.

People may say there are a several launch spots and we can't get them all, but we can get the major 3/4. If we educate the community on the importance of signing-in, then hopefully the community would be willing to drive 5 minutes out of their way to sign-in before launching.

If we don't try something, then I'll be highly disappointed in the CTF plan and the private boater community. The beauty of the Numbers is that I haven't seen huge trains of commercial rafts and I don't have to worry as much about getting run-over by a raft. If we do nothing, then we'll have traded a short-term reprieve from Permits for long-term commercialization of the Numbers. That would be a VERY disappointing trade.

If the AHRA is already planning to post additional signs, then it shouldn't be hard to add the sign-in boxes.

I wrote this comment at the Denver flagship store and I sent Rob White and email re-iterating the comment and offering volunteers from the Pikes Peak Whitewater club to help build whateve needs to be done.


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