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Old 02-09-2004   #1
Mike Harvey's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 805
My comments on the ICP (Ark Plan) below...

This ICP is some of the more assertive and meaningful stuff that has come down the AHRA pike in a while. It will have a prfound effect on the Upper Ark Valley and I beleive that it is on the whole a good thing for Private Boaters. We have been working on this concept the whole time I have been on the CTF (2years) and it has really gone forward in the last few months with hard work from your other rep, Marshall.

It is not perfect but it is, I beleive, in the balance, a positive thing for Private boaters on the Ark. Nobody wants permitting on the Ark and this plan is not a cure all but it will elimiante the severe inequity in Browns. Don't beleive the hype if you read that shitty ariticle by Charlie Myers in the Sunday Sports section. He does not have a deep enough understanding of this plan. This is not about the State trying to milk more money out of little guys in the outfitting industry. This is about outifitters paying the true cost of running a business on the number one commercial river in the country. It is about eliminating corporate welfare in my opinion and I used to own a raft company here.

In terms of the Numbers. We can deal with the Commercial increase up there. I have run the numbers over 500 times over the last 10 years both as a commercial guide and mostly in my kayak. It is nearly impossible to milk a numbers trip for longer then an hour, in a raft, so even with the expanded launch window you are still not going to see commercial boats in the numbers past 3pm. Commercial boats in the Numbers is just not the same as in Browns. They don't really pull over and there are very few areas that they can get bunched up. Plus we still have the 3 crieteria in the management plan that protect us. The increases in the Numbers will happen 10 boats at a time and we can voice our opinions to AHRA is we are seeing negative impacts on us in the Numbers with increased use and likely stop the increases.

So my opinion is that we should get behind this plan. Please e-mail me or if you want call my office 719-539-0700 if you need anything clarified before the meeting, tonight. I hope Denver boaters will come out and get behind this plan. Thanks, Mike Harvey

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Old 02-10-2004   #2
Confluence Watersports Sales rep
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 40
I just attended the meeting at REI. It wasn't set up very good. Itseemed like they had little "work shops" in various corners of the room which divided people up. Definitely not a Q& A question.
My question is, What is the plan? They still didn't know if they were going to permit, were unclear of user days(# of boaters, both com. & private)
How much permits were going to be. How long the wait would be.
How can we get behind it if they don't even know what it is?

I think once the door gets opened (permits) it'll be hard to close.
As a resident of Salida, do you really want to not be able to paddle the #'s on a given day because you don't have a permit.

The rangers at the REI meeting stated over and over that it would be most cost effective to permit the whole river. I asked if that would mean you need a permit to use the play park in Salida, they Said, "If it's on the Ark, absolutely."



Let's sick Woody on 'em, he'll fix this whole mess.

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Old 02-10-2004   #3
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
I was there too. I liked the format. You could talk with the Park service directly, instead of a big Q&A session.

The way I understood it, if the Brown's Canyon private boater numbers are increased from 150 to 240, which is the plan, they won't permit.

But a permit system is probably inevitable.

Yes, it is crazy to permit the play park in Salida. Someone else made the point of what if you want to do a run in the late afternoon when usage is way down--why permit that?

Pass your comments on to the AHRA--who's got the e-mail address? The deadline is tomorrow, Wednesday!
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Old 02-10-2004   #4
The next zone, .
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,200
In my understanding of the ICP both the Salida play spot and the Buena Vista play spot are exempt from rationing so no worries about the park and play on any day. Just let the AHRA know that these spots need kept exempt form rationing.
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Old 02-10-2004   #5
Mike Harvey's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 805
Yeah that is right. Salida and BV are exempt from counts, so they will never be permitted. Joel, here are the basics. There are capacity numbers for each section for Privates and Commmercials so when those numbers are exceeded for three days during a given season then permitting can be put in place. So privates have 350 boats per day in the Numbers and last year our high day was like 120 or so. So no one is talking about permitting the Numbers.

In terms of permits in general...of course I don't want to be permitted. No one does. But the issue of whether or not there will be permits for private boaters someday on the Ark is not on the table. There will be. That battle was lost during the management plan review in 1998-2000. So when we hit our capacities in sections of river we will have to deal with permits.

We have exceeded our capacity in Browns (150 bpd) in both 2001 and 2003 but we have delayed permitting by trying to find a way to get more boats in Browns. That is what the ICP is for privates, an increase from 150 to 240bpd in Browns to avoid permitting for now. Commercials are giving up the 90 boats in Browns to go from 450 to 360. So the big compromise is to allow the commercials to go from the 60 boats per day they have in the management plan right now to 90 boats per day. Any increase for them would happen 10 boats per year and with three crieteria in place to evaluate whether they get those extra boats: expansion of facilities (in the works), minimal additional user conflicts, and minimal impact to the resource.

So what we have to do in the Numbers is report any conflicts to AHRA (if they exist) and help them monitor the increases. However, if State Parks shoots down the increase in the Numbers then commercials will still get their 60 boats and we will likely drop to 200 in Browns which will trigger permitting because we hit that number last season a couple of times. Yeah I know that sucks why can't we get our boats in Browns with no increase in the Numbers for commercials? Because that is the compromise and I for one can live with in to stave off permits in Browns for another few years. If anyone has any questions please fire them off to me thanks.
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Old 02-10-2004   #6
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
Good comments by Mike Harvey.

But, I also heard that they may want to permit the entire Ark.

Overall, the system is skewed against from private boaters--let's face it, money has influence. Commercial boaters bring in more money for themselves and probably the hotels & restaurants. I'm sure the politicians are telling the park service to help the big commercial outfits.

But, I think private boaters can flex more muscle than they did in the 1980's when the plan were set up and than 1998-2000 when the plan was revised. There are more of us and we can communicate and organize better because of the web.

The more private boaters who speak up, the more clout we have.

Would someone, (Andy Horn?!) please post the ahra web site for comments--they are due Wednesday.

People who haven't given feedback, I would recommend commenting one or more of the following:

1) Try to avoid permits
2) If you do permit, don't permit the entire Ark, just the busy sections
3) Don't permit off-peak hours or weekdays
4) Please be aware that a large number of rafts on the numbers can be a danger because of the narrow, continuous nature of the river.
5) Using "boats per day" as the usage statistic is clearly biased. The argument that rafts and kayaks effect fisherman equally doesn't work on heavy use sections where fisherman are very few.

Include your name and address.

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Old 02-10-2004   #7
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
As far as I've seen, there's no place on their website for posting comments. Since Marshall's likely out of town until after tomorrow, the only thing I'd recommend is to email your comments to the rangers that were at the meeting. I got a card from John Geerdes who can be emailed at:

his phone # is 719-539-7289
fax # 719-539-3771

Hopefully this will help.

I was underwhelmed with the format of the meeting last night and would have liked to have seen more structure to it. It seemed ineffecient and random - folks hanging out and asking questions that may have been already answered and discussed, a slideshow going on without much explanation, and a few vague posters up on easels. I often couldn't hear what the rangers were saying because they were talking to a couple of folks in a large group that surrounded them. They quickly ran out of nametags and comment forms. My guess is that they weren't expecting the turnout they got.

As for it being skewed against private boaters, the State's aiming at squeezing them a bit more than currently. If the ICP happens the State's hoping to cut the number of commercial outfitters by 25%, cutting the number of commercial boats per day by about 130 and shifting 90 bpd to privates on Brown's. The commercials will also have their yearly fees for commercial permits increased from $400 to $2,500, and will have to pay $5,000 to transfer a permit until there are 45 or fewer operating. Its probably not much compared to the expenses involved in the rest of the operation but may put pressure on a few to close up shop.

If an outfitter does close up shop, what happens to that outfitter's allocation of boats?

Get those comments in,

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 02-10-2004   #8
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
Found it. The e-mail address to send comments to is . Andy's e-mail address above should also do the trick.

Please drop an e-mail to this address stating your concern for appropriate access by private boaters. The deadline is Wednesday, Feb 11.

Show them that private boaters are becoming a force!
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Old 02-11-2004   #9
Mike Harvey's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 805
You can also e-mail your comments to me ( I am the other private boater rep.)

Andy, there has only been one case of an outiftter simply closing up, Rocky Mountain Tours who went out of business in 1997. Remeber that the permit for commercials is technically state property. So when this happened RMT's use (a lot of use they were at one time the 6th largest on the river) went into a pool and was divided among outfitters, I am not sure how. Most of the time an outfitter will sell their use and transfer their permit to someone. It is sort of complicated but essentially what this plan does is encourage consolidation, so big companies eating up small companies, because it will not be worth a person buying a small company and trying to run that company as is with such a high transfer fee.

The problem is that there are too many companies on this river. They are constantly undercutting each other and keeping the price of trip down to levels that makes it hard for anyone to make money, especially after 2002 and the resulting rescession in this micro economy. And don't give me that "I don't care if they make money, evil empire, blah, blah," crap. I care because I am a resident of this valley and raft companies are an important part of our economy and they are far better coporate citizens then most business you could think of.

In terms of AHRA being skewed against private boaters...I agree that commercials have a more organized is their business and Marshall and I have work, families skiing and everything else. However this issue (Borwns Canyon) and the ICP has really helped to mobilize the private community and I have heard that a ton of people showed up at the REI the other night. THat is great. When you really look at it Denver is where most of the boaters live so we need Denver boaters to be educated and involved.

They are not going to permit the whole river. There is this thing called the management plan (you can get a copy from AHRA) and it lays out carrying capacities per section and when those are exceeded three days in one season then permitting can get put in place. I don't understand what AHRA staff said that made people think that the whole river was in jepordy (I am going to call Rob White today and try to understand what they said) but only Browns is over capacity (2001 and 2003). If this plan goes through we would get 240bpd in Browns and that would avoid permitting. No other section is really very close to hitting the numbers for privates and the Salida and BV whitewater parks are exempt. If they try to permit the whole river I will walk out of my office, accross the street 300 feet or so and into the AHRA office where I will raise holy hell for the three hours or so it takes the rest of you to drive up from Denver.

Stay involved and e-mail me or AHRA your comments.
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Old 02-11-2004   #10
Highlands Ranch, CO Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 482

Good comments and thanks for all the work you and Marshall have put into this, my question that I couldn't quite get an answer from the rangers is when will they be implemeting the bpd trade with commercialls or at least make a definate decision on that.

I was talking with a couple of the company owners that did attend and they seem alright with giving up those browns boats but they want AHRA to hold up there end by cutting down the number of companies down to 45. It seems like the AHRA is getting some pressure from the legislature for trying to cut out the smaller companies, so AHRA is dragging there feet on that issue so it seems to me that if the commerciall companies that have agreed to giving up there boats for fewer companies might renig if they don't get there part of the agreement. I definately could be wrong on that analysis but that was a problem at the REI meeting, it seemed to me that I couldn't get very many definitive answers on anything.

Any input on that would be helpful.


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