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Old 07-09-2010   #41
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Originally Posted by slavetotheflyrod View Post
Mut understands where I'm coming from, but I can't help but wonder why some of you have so little faith in your fellow boaters. During the course of the legislative effort, many of the same folks that see a negative outcome as the product of this proposed protest were quick to chime up and defend the conduct of themselves and their fellow boaters. What's changed?.
Which brings up a good question: What positive outcome do you see coming from this protest?

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Old 07-09-2010   #42
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Originally Posted by wild bill View Post
Private boaters got nothing. I do not call this a victory.
What did we lose Bill? Aren't we still free and doing our own thing like we always have? Grand proclamations by landowners about what we can and can't do are equal to the crazy guy living down the road ranting at cars driving past his house. If you want to lap the block where he lives to prove something to him...well, drive on with your bad self.

"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 07-09-2010   #43
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AW and CW have been leading this thing from "our" perspective. Unless you think you can do a more effective job on your own, fall in line, because they are going to bat for you, don't bean them with a wild pitch. If you want to help or influence the course CW/AW are taking, get involved with the situation through AW/CW. Even if you think you can do a more effective job then CW/AW it would be in everyones best interest if you worked with them instead of against everyone.
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Old 07-09-2010   #44
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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I still want to know: who's organizing this thing, anyway?

Originally Posted by Rich View Post
Which brings up a good question: What positive outcome do you see coming from this protest?
That's a very good question indeed, Rich.

I'll admit that when I heard about what happened on the Lake Fork a few years ago, and what's happening on the Taylor with the landowner now, I thought a protest float would be a great thing to do. You know, "send 'em a message!" and all that.... After putting some thought into it and reflecting on what I've seen of the media's coverage of protests I've been to, I've changed my mind. I ask anyone considering a protest float to think long and hard about about what we'd really gain if its successful, and what the consequences could be if it gets out of hand.

There's really nothing to gain, but there's a lot to lose in terms of bad PR from just one person getting rowdy and making a scene.

slavetotheflyrod: I kind of doubt this will turn into a media circus. I'm sure the local papers will run a column or two, but I doubt the network news will pay it much attention.
If you think a "Rafting Protest Float" is going to be under the media's radar, just remember that despite a lot of very significant bills in the Colorado legislature, HB-1188 got tons of coverage even though its only relevant to a small part of the population. Whitewater boating is a photogenic topic and newsroom editors will be salivating at the chance to show footage of rafters and kayakers - especially if there's a whiff of conflict in the air.

wild bill: Not sure who is organizing it, and do not really care.
What if Shaw's flunkies are the ones handing out the fliers because they know if the "Protest Float" is a circus it'll be on Page 1 and make us all look bad, and if its calm, quiet and peaceful, it'll be buried on page 22D or won't make the news at all?

wild bill: If you think it is wrong to [be] exercising our right then you are the problem. .... I intend to act responsibly and obey the laws. Basically, we should act as I am sure most of us act anyway.
I'm pretty certain no one in AW or CW thinks its wrong to exercise our right to float. We do that every time we head to the river. And I'll seriously say I'm also sure you and Slave will be very courteous and well behaved. Unfortunately there are other folks out there who think being confrontational with the landowners will be a great way to publicize the issue. There's also the very real possibility an agitator from the landowners side will slip into the flotilla and provoke a confrontation. Regardless of the cause, any confrontation will get splashed all over the news. The fact that 99% of the other floaters disagreed with rowdy tactics won't be mentioned. That's how the "news" works.

slavetotheflyrod: If you're of the belief that this thing can or will turn into a disaster, then that's all the reason you need to show up in order to keep the peace
Even if responsible people come and chaperone the event, how are they supposed to subdue rowdy yahoos if they're not together in the same raft? And if responsible people come along and muzzle someone who's rowdy, that will just be more great footage for the news cameras. The impression folks watching TV in the suburbs will get is that not only do boaters yell obscenities at calm landowners who only want to enjoy their private property in peace, but recreational boaters are combative against each other as well. We've all seen local news stories when the camera caught three seconds of sensational footage, and that three-second clip got replayed multiple times in segment. All it takes is one bad apple and the media can turn it into a circus.

There's nothing be gained and there's too much to lose in terms of how the general public, whose support we will need if there's another legislative effort or a future ballot initiative, sees the boating community.

As I've said, regardless of the intentions of whoever is organizing this thing, its a perfect setup to make recreational boaters look bad.

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 07-09-2010   #45
Denver, Colorado
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I can understand the passion people have for this issue. However I think the "protest float" has the potential to do more harm than good. Its not because I want to bow down to land owners, or not be as tough about it as others, its simply that not much improvement in the situation can directly come out of it, but there could be significant negative consequences. I think the main thing a protest float would do would make the protesters feel good to be able to publicly show their anger and defiance, but that won't better the cause.

What good can come out of it? You can already paddle the Taylor right now, and Colorado boaters enjoy access as they have for many years. Shaw realized it wasn't going to be as easy as he thought to keep paddlers out, and he backed off.

What bad could come of it... First off, it perpetuates the conflict with the landowners and does nothing to resolve it. It just pisses the other side off so they will want to fight you more. A number of landowner vs. boater disputes have been resolved after both sides worked together to find a mutually acceptable solution. Cheeseman Canyon on the South Platte is an example of a place that used to be the prime example of hostile fisherman attempting to block access. After some hard work, an access compromise has been arranged that seems to be working well for both boaters and the fisherman. You don't achieve breakthroughs by pissing people off, you do it by working with them.

Also, it seems that people feel this should be decided by the court and they are ready to get arrested or charged to be a test case. I think this is a risky proposition. The major risk with the courts is that if you lose, not only do you lose access to the river that you currently have, you set the precendent that could be used to stop lots of boaters from accessing lots of places. Boaters seem to think that we should intrinsicly have the right to float, but there is no gaurantee a judge will agree with you. Just because other states have high water mark to high water mark type laws doesn't mean thats what you will get in colorado. There are all sorts of rivers, lakes, canals, and various waterways that are closed to boating for whatever reason some government agency can think up. What if a judge decided to shut down boating until the case was settled? What if you lose and every river and creek in colorado that goes through private property has the potential to get shut down too? Think very carefully about the potential ramifications of losing.

Another thing about the courts is that that justice and the right thing are not always the outcome in court. The courts can be used to financially drain the opposition until they have to give up the fight due to lack of funds. I'm pretty sure that multimillionare land development interests have a lot more money than all the commercial rafting and kayaking organizations have to fight this. So whats at stake... maybe spending hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars to fight the case to keep what we already have now? The expenditures to fully fight this would drain funds that could be used more positively. Also, if a person tries to fight it and doesn't have cash for a good lawyer, a crappy lawyer might lose the farm. You definitley want your legal A-team working on it, and thats gonna end up getting funded by the paddling organizations because you sparked a case that could put them out of business. You standing up and saying you are gonna fight it in court means you drag other groups into the fray who have ideas how to do this calmly, cooly, and strategically, and maybe even less costly.

Many have noted that most other laws protect up to the high water mark. The problem is that lots of portaging and scouting and put ins and takeouts that are above the high water mark. If you are paddling through private property, its a good relationship with landowners that allows you to continute to scout and portage. Intentionally piss off the landowners and you can kiss the incidental access to their land goodbye, and I doubt the law will help you there. While this might not be a big deal on class III rivers for rafting where you can boat scout almost everything, this could be a huge deal and a showstopper on Class IV/V creeks that require portaging and scouting to safely navigate them.

So a protest float can piss people off, inspire conflict, and still not get anything changed. Real change will come when the paddling community works with the opposing groups to find the right solution for all. If you aren't going to work towards a solution, step back, and let the folks that are working for a positive solution do their thing (AW & CW).

I don't seen any good coming from a protest float. I'd personally advise against it.
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Old 07-09-2010   #46
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Littleton, Colorado
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Originally Posted by Rich View Post
Which brings up a good question: What positive outcome do you see coming from this protest?
And that's a very good question.

First - for me personally, it's a day on the river. I always have a good time on the river and love being there.

If that's not enough, this presents an opportunity to meet and network with a few more stand up guys and gals.

As this thread has already shown, the Duke's tactics are working - most of the people on this board and in the valley are pissing themselves scared of this guy. Each and every time I've been down there I've seen people taking out at south bank and putting in at 5 mile, yet none doing the opposite. Hardly anyone is floating through Harmel's and Wilder. On both fronts The Duke is winning. He's got the commercial co's whipped into shape and the public scarred off. This alone oughta be enough.
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Old 07-09-2010   #47
San Jose, CA, California
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High Profile Trespassing

Below is a section of my Environmental capstone. It was written in April 2010 before HB-1188 crashed. However, my stance on the direction we should take to overcome these issues remains the same. In short go boating down the middle taylor my July 17, 2010. And be positive respectful boaters like you always are.

Rivers in Colorado and the laws underlying what the publicís private property rights and the boating community's non-right to float have always been the same since the states constitution was written. No citizen has legitimately had the right to float. However, the law has not stopped the public from floating. Private boaters trespass quite frequently during the boating season. Most of the time they keep a low profile and move quickly on and off the river when no one is looking. That is one reason there has not been a case like Emert in the last thirty years. Over that time, there has only been large increase in private boating and thus, and increase in low profile trespassing. It took a commercial rafting companieís business rights for this issue to resurface in the state legislative system. We have seen the legislative system fail to meet both private, and commercial boaters needs. In other states, it has been the judicial system where the timeliest and most effective policies are made. That is why we need more Emert cases. The boating community's largest goal should be overcoming this issue. From the ground up, we must push for cultural change in regards to private land values that conflict with the publicís water that moves down our rivers. Even if doing so damages the relationships between individual ranch owners and the community as a whole. Doing this in a timely manner will require a predominant change to high profile trespassing.
High profile trespassing will show the world how critical this issue is to the citizens of Colorado. The best case out come of high profile trespassing demonstrations would come from boating festivals. The FIBARK (Finest in Boating on the Arkansas River) festival should include a community protest float in which all participants intentionally break private property laws. It should include multiple incidents of stream bed contact, rock contact, and portage contact. Both the media and police should be informed of the event. The best outcome would be multiple state court cases fighting agentsí unjust trespassing violations. Having multiple cases would ensure a timely positive outcome giving boaters both commercial and private the right to float. High profile trespassing will require strong ground up motivation from the boating community. The effect will be a positive solution to a prolonged environmental problem.

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Old 07-09-2010   #48
Gunnison, Colorado
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The major reason to protest is that by not floating the Duke and his cronies have already won. If the boating public is too scared to float then what is the point.

Theophilus: I agree that we did not loose any rights, but we did not win anything either. The laws are still murky and confusing. The important thing to consider is that the commercial companies up Taylor already had to sign an agreement to be allowed to float through Shaw's property (which the Forest Service has historically and currently permitted). Land owners could take the hint and hundreds of individual agreements could be needed to commercially float. On the private end this is not a step backwards but should be viewed as a warning shot. Soon you may need to ask permission to float your favorite section. The idea of that makes me sick.

Andy: If Shaw wants to invite me to float I am happy to oblige him. I intend to be respectful as already mentioned, and I hope that all boaters in attendance will be as well. Regarding the media, anyone who believes everything they read or see on the tv is an idiot. This last winter the politicians screwed us and the media wasn't terribly helpful either. I hope that the media will be positive and fair if they do show, but I have little faith in them anyhow.

The point is that the Taylor was, is, and should always be floatable. If we do nothing then we have already lost. I am not giving up and neither should you.
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Old 07-09-2010   #49
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hey Buck, what does FIBARK stand for? I think "protest" is the wrong word. If everyone goes boating and the powers that be see that there is definite interest in using that section of river, as a great float, then the politicians/bureacrats will take notice. Don't go raising a shit storm, just float thru, have a great time, and be counted. The powers are in the numbers, not the loudest. What if AW or CW had a number saying 10,000 boaters floated that section this summer. That is what politicains look for... boaters who are voters... Think about it.
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Old 07-09-2010   #50
Vail, Colorado
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Has anyone thought about just asking this guy to come drink a beer and fish with you. Maybe the common ground would bring people together.

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