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Old 04-07-2009   #1
 
Lake City, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
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New Threat of Lawsuit on The Lake Fork

It sounds like a lawsuit is going to be underway on the Lake Fork the first time it gets floated and fished this year. Now it needs boaters more than ever. It especially needs super pumas or similar size boats with fishermen. Their claim is that the property is losing value because of the water being fished. Does anyone know who to get in contact with for a little help in a situation like this?
FLOAT AND FISH THE LAKE FORK!!!!
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Old 04-07-2009   #2
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the dude that runs the Gunnison Paddle Club could probably be a good resource. im not a member but i imagine that would be a good group of local boaters to try and tap to get to rally down for some mass floats.

i have already got my friends stoked, theyre ready to go and do it a bunch, as am i.

who specifically is filing the lawsuit? and whom are they filing against? and what does the lawsuit aim to do?
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Old 04-07-2009   #3
 
Lake City, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
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Thanks for the info. I didn't know Gunny had a paddle club. The owner of the ranch is a felon so I think his son would be filing the lawsuit. I think his son is a co-owner of the ranch and has a clean criminal record. The threat of the lawsuit is against me personally. Their intent is to financilly break me. The talk is that they want to make an example of me. They have pulled something every year to try to keep traffic off the river. When I first moved here from Gunny they were against all river traffic. We put on the river every chance we had and delt with many heated issues and they finally folded and left us alone for a while. After this river use picked up just a bit. A few years ago the ranch had the sherifs department and the division of wildlife stop me as I floated through. They apologized for bothering me and stated that everything was good and they would have a talk with the landowner. I think they must of watched last year while we were landing some of the huge fish in there. This year could be a bluff on the lawsuit, but if I could find someone to get behind me in case something does happen I will be able to relax a little more while on the river.
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Old 04-07-2009   #4
 
Highlands Ranch, CO Paddling Since: 1993
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By the sounds of this you should get in contact with Nathan Fey he is the local representative for AW, and since they are also looking to ban fishing, trout unlimited is a very large and powerful lobby group that I would guess get behind you on this.

If you are not a member yet of AW please join up.
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Old 04-07-2009   #5
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its not the lutwaks again is it?

i'll stand by you and by our right to float 100%. i cant be there every day but i will try to come down and float with you as often as i can, im sick and tired of these assholes and their arrogance in thinking they own the river. makes me sick! and i will do whatever it takes to stand by you and make a point. the sherriffs (and the law) will likely be on our side, so its ultimately just a matter of standing up to these dongbags and making them realize were not doing anything illegal. i always pack my camera when i go so if they wanna videotape us going through, or harass us as we go through, i will shoot it all for posterity and good laughs down the road.

is it worth talking to an attorney beforehand, just to get his general thoughts on the subject? i am friends with several here in town and it would be nothing to pop a squat for a few minutes with one of em and lay it out and get their opinions.

edit: im not sure if he still is or not, but homeboy osgood is the guy to talk to about the gunny paddle club, as he was the head of it for a while, and might still be, i dont know. i wish i could be of more help, but i have personal issues with certain members and am not a member as such!
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Old 04-07-2009   #6
 
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Trout unlimited (TU) has not taken a position in landowner / fishing issues in the past couple of years... Half of them want to keep fishermen off their private property and half want acess to fish.......

So I dont know if TU will be your best help..
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Old 04-07-2009   #7
 
Lake City, Colorado
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No it's not the Lutwaks. It is the valley view ranch owned by Ed cox. THe ranch is about two miles out of town. It is the one with the big hay meadow that is usually full of elk. They had river improvements done several years ago to improve fish habitat. When on the river it is the ranch with the cable stretched across on both ends of the ranch with no trepassing signs. I think this guy helped out on the money end of things for Yose while going after cannibal outdoors.
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Old 04-07-2009   #8
 
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Bozeman, Montana
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Float it. don't even worry, seriously what kind of lawsuit can he file against you? AW has their own can of woop ass get them involved. i would get as big a group as you can put together and run the shit out of it.
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Old 04-07-2009   #9
 
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Not sure but is this the ranch??

http://amountainhome.net/index2207.html?p=3
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Old 04-07-2009   #10
 
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Durango, Colorado
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This is an issue that I have mixed feelings about, and have caught some serious crap about in the past. Background: I own a little chunk of Florida River frontage (and streambed) outside of Durango. It's an awesome flyfishing stream, and in early May it has enough water to be kayakable. I have had problems in the past with wading flyfishers trespassing and killing trout, which really pisses me off as a catch-and-release person. On the other hand, it makes me happy to see kayakers paddling thru during the brief window when its floatable. And if kayakers needed to portage around an obstruction or even put in/take out on my property, I'm completely cool with that. Afterall, I'm a river person in addition to being fortunate enough to own a little piece of river. I'm only an asshole when wading fisherpeople kill trout and then argue with me when I point out their trespassing. On the other hand, if a person is a catch-and-release flyfisher and they ask if they can fish my section, I always say "yes." Hell, I've even given some folks flies that I tie specifically for the Florida, and will direct them to the killer holes.

While my piece of river isn't really suitable for floating and fishing (steep gradient, rocky and shallow), if someone were to do that, I absolutely acknowledge their right to do it. I may not like it, especially if they're bait slingers killing fish, but I know that they are allowed to do it, despite my misgivings.

The position of this Lake City ranch owner in my estimation is craziness. Colorado law allows floating and fishing, as does Wyoming law. You just can't anchor or wade on private property. For this landowner to threaten lawsuits against people floating and/or fishing is just nuts to me. As I understand the law, these potential lawsuits would be tossed out anyhow, so what's the point?

I cherish my little piece of trout heaven, and try really hard to allow them to flourish in an awesome habitat. For instance, I never fish during low water or during spawning. And I haven't killed a trout in the Florida (intentionally) for 17 years. But I also realize that if someone could manage to float my piece of river and successfully eddy out and fish, they have every right to do that.

I think the idea of forcing the ranch owner to face legal reality is a good one, and I will try to make time this summer to float (and fish) the Lake Fork and "enlighten" them. If it gets weird, so be it.
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