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Old 06-01-2004   #1
Have paddled a Quest
 
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 102
Lake Fork Gunnison

This isn't a new issue, but now the BLM has gotten into the act. They have posted a sign at the put in to the Lake Fork Gunnison telling people to go elsewhere because the landowners downstream have put a fence across the river.

Although there is no clear legal precident to determine the legality of this fence, it may be in violation of the Colorado criminal obstruction statute, CRS § 18-9-107:

Quote:
(1) An individual or corporation commits an offense if without legal
privilege such individual or corporation intentionally, knowingly, or
recklessly:
(a) Obstructs a. . . waterway. . . to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access. . . .
(2) For purposes of this section, “obstruct” means to render impassable or to render passage unreasonably inconvenient or hazardous.
I find it unfortunate that the BLM seems to be sanctioning criminal obstruction. Beware of the hazard and the prevailing political climate should you choose to kayak this section of the river...



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Old 06-01-2004   #2
Have paddled a Quest
 
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The image URLs didn't work out- see photos 221 and 222 in the Creek photo album on this site...
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Old 06-03-2004   #3
 
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What's the 'route' for finding out if the fence is legal, and if not, pursuing correct recourse?
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Old 06-03-2004   #4
Have paddled a Quest
 
Fort Collins, Colorado
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Whether or not the fence is legal requires more clarification of the CRS. Although the fence seems to fit the definition of criminal obstruction, such terms as "waterway" and "substantial group of the public" may require further definition. That could come by one of two means:

1) Legislation to clarify CRS § 18-9-107

2) Legal proceedings brought by either the landowner or recreational boaters.

Note that this is the same section of river that was involved in a legal dispute several years ago which was settled out of court- I do not know what the terms of that settlement were.

Also note that any party who touches the fence could be found guilty of criminal trespass, regardless of weather or not the fence is an obstruction.

Several years ago, the CWWA and AW reached a settlement with landowners on the Deckers section of the South Platte in which the landowner removed an obstruction with the stipulation that boaters on that section of the river not touch the banks or stream beds, which is defined as criminal trespass in CRS § 18-4-504.5

To find out more about Deckers go to:

http://www.coloradowhitewater.org/

and click on "River Access" on the left.
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