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Old 06-04-2008   #1
Livingston's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 679
Shut Down @ Big T take-out Public Park

Our group of 4 was trying to leave a car at the the park/picnic area on the North side of the road downstream of Drake on Monday 6/4/08. I don't remember the name of the little park and couldn't find it in a googling. A park employee who had been hammering on something came over and told us we were not allowed to take-out at this park. The only reason he gave was that kayakers were causing "confusion" and we took up too much parking. I'd say 75% of the parking spots were open. We pressed him for more information and found that we were causing this guy some confusion as well. At one point, he said it was only open to the public... I asked how we were not part of the public. He refered us to an information board that had (among maps and otherstuff) a brochure for the park that stated no "tubing or boating".

This guy was only following instructions so we didn't hassle him. We did make it known that it was in our opinion an unfair exclusion of a particular group to public land. We did get his name, his bosses name, and phone number. He also said it was a Loveland park.

We parked a mile further downstream to avoid a tow. So, is this BS or does Loveland have the right to kick kayakers out of there parks? Anyone else have a problem there?


"I think I handled my alcohol pretty well considering how drunk I was." -Cousin Dan
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Old 06-04-2008   #2
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The Road, Colorado
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we had the same type of experience about a month ago... We where "makeing people think it was ok to play in the river" also...

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Old 06-04-2008   #3
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
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The park you are talking about is Viestenz Smith Mountain Park. It is run by Loveland Parks and Rec.

I called up their office and the lady answering the phones verified that park regulations state that it is not permitted to enter the water at the park. She mentioned something about kayakers making other people think it was ok to play in the water.

I left a message with the Parks manager and will hopefully talk to him tomorrow. I'll talk to him about access for kayakers and see if there are some ways to work through the issue. The issue seems to be safety for the clueless to keep them from getting hurt.

Its a nice park and a good takeout.

On a side note, the Big T was awesome last night at 575. Ran from below the gnar down to the park and had a great time. The big double rapid above drake was fun! Flows are up over 600 today. Get it while you can.

I'll post back the response from the park manager. If we can't work things out, I'll forward the info to AW to see if they can make some headway.
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Old 06-04-2008   #4
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 130
You might want to bring along the Colorado state statue on the authority to close a river See the thread ->
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Old 06-04-2008   #5
Denver, Colorado
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They didn't close the river, they just don't want you putting in or taking out in the park. Not sure on the legalities here, but I'm not sure about what kind of "rights" boaters have on park property to access rivers.

There are loads of examples of parks that are used as access points in colorado, boulder creek, clear creek, bailey, poudre, ark, etc are just a few that come to mind.

We'll see what happens.
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Old 06-04-2008   #6
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Boulder, Jackson Kayak, Colorado
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I have had a call into "larry" super for the loveland city parks since this morning. I called again two hours ago to chase him down. Once I speak with him I will advise as to how the call goes, but regardless, what this comes down to is a singleing out of kayakers as "not ok" which is total bs.

My hope is that Larry see's what this looks like and wants to avoid this being escalated into what would obviously be some sort of discrimination against a group to park in a public area that others are obviously allowed to park in freely... Very strange, but many times this type of thing can be cleared up very easily with open dialogue.
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body. But rather...To skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming... WOW !!!! What a ride!!!!!!"
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Old 06-04-2008   #7
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Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 453
Good info

I am very curious about this myself. Last weekend I had the same problem on the Poudre. We were trying to use Big Bend park and got shut down by the camp host. It's a forest service camp ground, so I didn't think they could do that. We just let it go, but I would like to bring this up to the CW board access guy and see if there is a way to resolve it. If anyone knows what the laws are regarding access, I would love to hear it.

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Old 06-05-2008   #8
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 831
A few years ago the caretaker at the park told us to get our kayaks off of the grass. There were families having picnics, a large birthday party was going on, and there were people all over that grass but he didn't want any kayaks on the grass. Just people are allowed on the grass, apparently. He was a JERK but I was in a good mood after a good run so I just did what he said.

The old man who takes care of the place has just decided that he doesn't like kayakers in his park, that is what it is. That guy has probably been mowing the grass and filling the toilet paper dispensers there for 25 years and when he told his bosses that he doesn't want kayakers "messing up" his park they backed him up on it.

I am going to continue using the park because it looks like a public park to me and I treat it respectfully. I doubt I will have the patience to react kindly to the old man caretaker again. <edited on the advice of my attorney>
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Old 06-05-2008   #9
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185 lb. waste of space, Keeping Glenwood Springs real
Paddling Since: 1864
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 917
I don't know if that guy is all there. I kept waiting for him to stop petting his dog and yell "chomper sick balls"
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Old 06-05-2008   #10
Ft Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 198
A couple comments:

On the Loveland park: it might be useful to note that kayakers emerging from the river with full safety gear - helmets, pfd, dry top, etc is actually a good role model and that kayakers (including me) have frequently advised the clueless about the danger of "rafting" with K-Mart rafts and cotton t-shirts. Good point about other existing kayaking access points shared with other users.

On Big Bend: Many campgrounds (USFS, National Park Service, state, etc.) prohibit 'day use' of campgrounds or they charge a day use fee. The implementation of this is generally established via policy and it's likely not at the discretion of the campground host. I'll look into this, but before getting too agro it's worth determining the regulations for that particular facility. If there were people picnicing (not camping and eating lunch at their site or the general area) then it would seem that day use by boaters would be an acceptable use.

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