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Old 01-16-2010   #1
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
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Curry's Commercial Outfitter Floating Act

The representative just sent this to me. I thought I'd share it.

Colorado River Outfitters Association

SUPPORT HB 10-XXX

Commercial Outfitters Floating Act

Sponsors: Representative Curry and Senator Hodge


Commercial river running contributed $142 million to Colorado’s economy in 2008 when more than 500,000 people enjoyed our scenic rivers. Yet, the ability to provide commercial river running is under serious threat because wealthy out-of-state landowners want to prohibit licensed outfitters from providing trips on historically rafted rivers. The 2010 Commercial Outfitters Floating Act protects Colorado’s tourism industry by clarifying the rights of commercial guides to operate on Colorado’s historically run rivers.

Background

Commercial rafting contributed $142 million to Colorado’s economy in 2008 while providing river trips to more than 500,000 people.
Current state law is unclear regarding the ability of commercial outfitters to float through private property.
Problem

A new landowner purchased property to subdivide into ranchettes on the Taylor River near Gunnison and is threatening expensive legal action against commercial river outfitters, who have been providing river trips on the stretch of river for more than 20 years.
Another out-of-state landowner drove a small commercial outfitter out of business on the Lake Fork near Lake City under similar circumstances in 2000.
Commercial outfitters, the guides they employ, and the local economies that they support are at risk if landowners successfully prohibit them from floating on Colorado’s rivers.
What the Bill Does and Does Not Do

Establishes that licensed outfitters, floating on historically commercially floated rivers, cannot be charged with civil trespass if they make accidental contact with the bed or banks of Colorado’s rivers, or portage around hazards that would put their passengers at risk.
Makes no changes to the rights that private boaters currently have.
Clearly protects landowners from liability if a rafter is injured while passing through their property.
Does not change the ability of landowners to construct facilities on their property.

Consequence If Not Approved

The ability of Colorado’s $142 million river rafting industry to operate on Colorado’s rivers would be put at serious risk.

For more information please contact Adam Eichberg (303-204-6930) or Will Coyne (720-308-7931)
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Old 01-16-2010   #2
 
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Boulder, Colorado
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Where does this leave private boaters? And what about rivers and creeks that haven't been commercially rafted historically? I am in favor of this bill but I would like to see it go further in establishing navigation rights on Colorado rivers for all users.
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Old 01-16-2010   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raftus View Post
Where does this leave private boaters? And what about rivers and creeks that haven't been commercially rafted historically? I am in favor of this bill but I would like to see it go further in establishing navigation rights on Colorado rivers for all users.
Amen
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Old 01-16-2010   #4
 
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Golden, Colorado
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Find your Colorado State representative here: COMaps: Find Your Districts in Colorado

And email them through their website / email address. Tell them to support this bill - even if you don't necessarily care about the commercial rafting industry, this bill is a Right-to-Float issue. It'll help establish a precedence for broader private boater issues. one legislative step at a time.

Here's what I wrote to my senator and Rep:

Quote:
Rep Weissmann-

Commercial river running contributed $142 million to Colorado’s economy in 2008 when more than 500,000 people enjoyed our scenic rivers. Yet, the ability to provide commercial river running is under serious threat because wealthy out-of-state landowners want to prohibit licensed outfitters from providing trips on historically rafted rivers. The 2010 Commercial Outfitters Floating Act protects Colorado’s tourism industry by clarifying the rights of commercial guides to operate on Colorado’s historically run rivers.

Please support Representative Curry and Senator Hodge in the effort to keep a significant Colorado tourism business afloat. Allowing individuals to determine the use of the State's water, as well as a major tourist industry serving hundreds of thousands of visitors, makes no sense.

Thanks for your consideration. I'll be following this issue closely and hope to see your steadfast support of the rafting industry.

Feel free to copy/paste
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Old 01-28-2010   #5
 
Gunnison, Colorado
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If we can guarantee the rafting companies right to float the rights of private boaters will eventually follow. I have never heard of any privates being sewed for a trespass, but it did bankrupt Cannible Outdoors in 2000.
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Old 01-28-2010   #6
 
Highlands Ranch, CO Paddling Since: 1993
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Thanks El Flaco, I cut and pasted to my guys.

My state rep replied stating he is following this, and likes it because it deals only with commercial outfitters.

I replied about the recreational and financial implications if private boaters were excluded.

I can not think of any runs in the state that do not cross private property, if private boaters are excluded from this and something passes excluding our ability to paddle then it would halt our fun, plus any out of state boaters as well as shut down all of our favorite paddle shops. I would guess that would have quite a financial impact to our state as well.
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Old 02-01-2010   #7
 
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Littleton, Colorado
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I really doubt this Texan developer had any idea of the size of the beehive he just poked. He's gonna get stung! Once we send this numbskull back to Texas with his tail between his legs, I think the time is right to put together a comprehensive "river users bill of rights" ballot amendment for the next general election. I've got my team researching similar law in other states and brainstorming ideas, and we're working closely with the guy that ran both Hickenlooper's and Ritter's campaign's. Once we get some ideas down on paper I want to host a roundtable discussion and get thoughts/comments from all interested parties before we start gathering signatures, all Buzzards would be invited to attend.
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