I, also, have fished the Lake Fork and would highly recommend it to boaters and fishermen alike. It's a good one!
As shown in this thread:
Utah Bill will limit river access
for the past several months, I have been and continue to be closely involved in the Utah "Recreational USE of Public Waters On Private Streambeds"
defeated (poorly written and offpoint) and upcoming new legislative bills.
I am also involved in the Lower Blue River Management Plan where the private interests are to restrict and control through boating permits through the Green Mountain Canyon and Valley sections rather than the publics' interests, as expressed by CWWA and AW in their public comments, for improvements to manage the lower 15 mile corridor of the Blue.
Instead of thinking in terms of "Right to FLOAT"
, which has to do with touching the surface of the water, rather, think in terms of "Right to the USE of Public Waters Incidental to Recreational Activities"
, which covers touching the streambed.
Also, keep in mind that "USE of"
is a different right than ACCESS to/from"
What has been and continues to be going on in Utah and Montana court rulings and legislation is very relevant to the Lake Fork Cannibal case and our recreational rights here in Colorado.
On the Lake Fork and other bodies of the Colorado state waters, you already have long settled Federally protected rights to the use of, access to/from public lands, portage under certain circumstances, "navigability in fact as in law" just as the private property owner has rights to ownership, privacy, etc. However, Colorado's state laws have never been Clarified
to synch up with the Federal laws.
Just as the private landowner is protected by trespassing and limited liability, under certain circumstances, laws, the public waterowner and user is protected by harassment and limited liability, under certain other circumstances, laws as well. Print out copies to take with you and, if the landowner violates those laws, have them enforced just as the landowners can do with theirs.
Both and together, the private landowners and public waterowners have Coexisting
rights. Such being the case, the private property owners' rights are Dominant
over the Servient
easements and rights of the water owner/user rights when they are about rights, easements, estates, etc., Above
the defined water mark, whether high or low, and the opposite is true when the rights, easements, estates, etc, are Below
the defined water mark. The defined water mark is very important in defining the various rights of both interests.
The challenge of all this is that these rights aren't Clarified
here in Colorado.
The issue is discussed by PatrickT, one of the main ColoradoWhitewater.org people, in Ignore your rights and they'll go away
and in the Colorado Whitewater page at http://www.americanwhitewater.org/co...p/id/access:co
NOTE, especially in the paragraph just above "Miscellaneous" paragraph, where it reads, "...(or the legislature provides further clarification on)".
btw, the Lake Fork Cannibal case is mentioned in the "Miscellaneous" paragraph.
The legislative alternative may be where your involvement can come into play, rather than or along with testing the issue out on the water with a court case.