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Old 08-07-2013   #1
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 2
State Bridge Landing

After long consideration. Ive decided to speak my mind on this topic. I even registered for mountainbuzz to post here.

Ive been boating in the State Bridge/ Pumphouse area for years. Almost once a week from end of May - Sept I bring my family out on the weekends to float. It was a beautiful time. My kids loved it.

Since the BLM or Eagle County, or whoever renovated State Bridge Landing it has been a complete nightmare.

2 or 3 weeks ago I took my family to float from Radium to State Bridge. I understand that others are out to enjoy the river on a warm Saturday afternoon. But the amount of drunken and disorderly conduct was ridiculous. The amount of nudity from the tubers that we saw was, slightly impressive.. I saw 3 girls, borderline hypothermia and clearly inebriated, without shoes, topless.. No one was wearing shoes, life jackets ..or clothes.. I floated behind probably 20 people, picking up their trash, watching them brake bottles on rocks. and hassle other boaters on the river.

I didnt think the trip could get much worse. And thats when we got to the take-out..

It was like sitting in rush hour traffic on the interstate. I tied my boat up to the stakes. My husband went to get our truck. and we got in line...

2 hours later. after watching COUNTLESS tubers/ duckies and others spend 30 ish minutes drinking beer, taking shots, throwing empty beer cans in the river on the beach and backing their car down the boat ramp to 'de rig' their tubes. It was my turn. I was surprised to see that at the higher water flows. there was a strong current running across the boat ramp. Why is there not an eddy at the boat ramp?

Also there were about 13 people just sitting on the boat ramp drinking, letting their dogs run around, one actually ran into a family friend of mine, and knocked him to the ground.

After getting so frustrated at watching other boaters deflate their boats on the ramp, while 4+ cars waited in line.. I got my boat up on my trailer, and got the hell out of there. WHY cant there be a BLM employee there managing this situation on weekends?? pay someone over time!! Isn't that why there is a camphost?

The pay station was over flowing. I watched one person pull envelops out of the paystation.. take the money out. and put it in his envelope and stuff it in the slot...Points for creativity

I remember before renovations, you never even had to back a trailer up, EVER. Parking was never and issue. and there was and eddy at the boat ramp. You could easily fit 4 cars on the beach and have room to work..

Is this ever going to get fixed? I would hate to see higher flows, like in 2011 on that boat ramp.

They had survey people there a week or so ago. They asked me if I would like to do a survey. I said "YES! this place is awful!" Their response was. "Oh, Im sorry, we dont want negative feedback"

I Also watched the same person, hand out clipboards to a commercial outfit. When the guide asked to fill one out, and commented on how hard it was to work on the small boat ramp. I heard her reply "we actually aren't surveying people who work down here"

Wouldn't survey results from people down there daily offer better information and feed back, then people who have never been there before, will never be there again, and will only be there for 20 minutes??

Do any of my fellow private boaters with families notice this? Have any solutions? Do you know if there are plans in place to fix this? Is this all due to the concert venue across the river? Why do they keep getting their permits renewed if they are destroying the river way like this?

BLM has offered absolutely no answers. I have talked to the kids that are down there checking cars on the weekend. They blow me off, I have called. They have no time for me. I was told Eagle county open space was the one to talk to. Then when I call them. They tell me the BLM is managing the property.

Might need to find a new family friendly float.. do any of you have ideas from the Steamboat Area?

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Old 08-07-2013   #2
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 405
If river users are breaking glass bottles around the river, I would chew them out BIG time! What if someone were to step on shards of glass and end up in the hospital? This is a big no - no. Throwing cans in the river is littering, illegal, and probably carries a stiff fine. I'd point this out to them as well, and if they give any lip, I'd get a description and report them. I have no tolerance for folks who do not respect the river. I have run this section many times and fortunately never seen this behavior.

As for the folks clogging up the take-out ramp, this is also being very inconsiderate and something I've not encountered. Normally folks are quite nice. If you mentioned you have a trailer and would would like to "real quick" load up and get out of their way (sometimes it is how you say it, and make sure you smile), I bet they would have let you cut in line AND helped you load it on your trailer. I think that is how most river rats are. Of course I was not there and you may have been dealing with a special lot of a-holes that day.

An idea - instead of taking out at state bridge, how about putting-in lower and taking-out downstream of state bridge? Don't remember the name of the next boat ramp, but it does have a nice eddy, gets used way less, and has room to back down 2 trucks at the same time, and is only about 4 miles downstream if I remember correctly.....


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Old 08-07-2013   #3
Summit County, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 153
We ran into the same issue trying to put in at Pumphouse weekend before last. It was our first time on the stretch this season (we were waiting for the water to come up). I can honestly say I've never seen such a shitshow at ALL of the ramps at Pumphouse. People inflating and rigging boats/tubes/etc. right where trailers are supposed to back down and refusing to get out of the way, and taking up space on the ramp afterward and sitting and drinking beers - even with our trailer right in their faces, waiting for them to move. A nice gentleman (never caught your name, but hope you're reading this) approached us when we arrived and told us to be prepared to get frustrated, as he had already spoken to the groups taking up valuable space on the ramps and just sitting there drinking while waiting for their shuttle to be run. He then explained to them, yet again, that there is such a thing as "ramp etiquette" and that we were waiting patiently for them to move so that we could unload our boat off the trailer. By this point four other vehicles with trailers were waiting behind us. I walked up as my husband was getting ready to basically keep inching closer with the trailer until they moved, and offered to help them move their boats out of the way. They then sprung into action and moved out of the way. I was shocked at the complete lack of respect for other boaters. They were shocked that I was able to move our 16' cat out of the way while I waited for my husband to get back from parking our truck. That was the fastest we've ever launched there, honestly just to get the hell away from all of that. We didn't have any issues floating or taking out at Rancho, but the hotsprings were fully packed, and people were cliff jumping with no pfd's on. We rowed through as quickly as we could, again to escape the shitshow.

It really is such a shame that this is happening on this stretch. You could still find solitude on the river there just a couple of years ago, and mutual respect from everyone enjoying the river, whether it be on a raft or dory, in a ducky or kayak, or even in a tube. There definitely needs to be more policing of the ramps, dogs at the ramps (we have a dog and leash her at every ramp), drinking out of glass on the river (HUGE no no, and I wouldn't hesitate to let someone know), and general littering. A ranger making runs down on Saturdays and Sundays wouldn't be a bad idea...just the presence of some sort of official would be a great start. At the end of our float, we both said that we'd be okay not floating the Upper CO again this season. It's a bummer, being that it's our backyard run, but I would prefer to drive farther than to boat amongst people that may pose a risk to me, my family, my friends, my dog, or even my boats.

And, props again to the nice guy who helped us out at the ramp! We were in the blue Aire 16' cat and you were in a blue raft (didn't catch the brand). We need more people like you on that stretch, and we hope to meet you again on the river.

Thanks to the OP as well for posting! I had also been contemplating posting about it, and I'm so happy to see that we aren't the only people that had issues.
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Old 08-07-2013   #4
Land of Lovin, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,449
Usually there is a ranger at Pumphouse put in, perhaps the gov't shut down has gotten rid of that ranger?

Also, I haven't used the new State Bridge take out but to be fair, the guy who ripped people off before at that take out was not awesome, charged 7 bucks PER PERSON to take out including kids and there was no ramp, just a steep ass gravel slope to deal with. So nothing is perfect but that sucks about all the tubers and the general lack of manners at both launches. I'm putting in early this Saturday and it sounds like it will still be better to take out at Rancho again instead of State Bridge, but for different reasons now.
Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. - Voltaire
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Old 08-07-2013   #5
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 471
I float these stretches every weekend. Yes i have seen naked people jumping off the cliffs (guys) but i am very disappointed that i have not seen all the naked ladies you speak of. This is a very popular "party" stretch and for the most part is in control (i am a family guys with 2 young kids....who themselves always moon the passenger trains).

Many river folks are inherently rough around the edges and like to have a good time. But i have never witnessed people throwing garbage in the river and smashing bottles in my 16 years of running these stretches. There are plenty of good river folks always around that would put an immediate stop to that (not that i'm calling your story a farce....but maybe slightly exaggerated)

I do agree about the new takeout. It could use a slightly wider ramp (2 trucks can fit, but you need to be dialed in) and a better eddy, since the concrete is in a current. However the old ramp was not that much larger and never held 4+ trucks at a time. There is still one of the old ramps still in place just upstream of the tie-off posts.

Last year there was a full time person on-site (camp host) she was more of a hassle than help. Constatnly yelling at folks and kids to get off the ramp and acting like a crazy old bat. I find it better (at least for the time being) to police ourselves. However, I would supportive of an official BLM employee there during the weekends.

I think this takeout (and put-in for Two Bridges- which the OP should be using) Is vastly improved over the old private area. It has nice toilets, cheap fees and a real concrete ramp. Nice work Eagle County Open Space !
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Old 08-07-2013   #6
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 2
Thanks for the feedback.. I really hate being negative especially when it comes to being on the river. I hate complaining about it. I am actually considering taking the post down. I sound pretty naggy!! But I am really not looking forward to boating this weekend. Thats just heartbreaking..

Hopefully we will all be able to come together in our love for the Upper C riverway and work out a solution!

As @jen says, its kinda the devil you know vs the devil you dont. I really shouldnt complain. I am still able to use the launch. So what really do I have to complain about.
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Old 08-07-2013   #7
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 471
Samm- Go do the next section down (closer to your home !!) Two Bridges (sleepy down there) its what the doctor ordered. Or float from Two Bridges down to Catamount (you will see not a soul...seriously)
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Old 08-07-2013   #8
Boy Howdy!
pinemnky13's Avatar
Colotucky, USA
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,054
We got to the pumphouse ramp also 2 weeks ago Saturday, 930, thinking we could beat the crowds, nope, no ranger, shitshow in full swing. we got our boat in our freinds boat in they left and ran shuttle. Then this guy (and I shit you not) back up halfway down the ramp with his trailer, with rollers and plopped his boat right on the ramp, seriously on the rap fully loaded and he parked his truck derigged 1/2 his shit to get his boart in the water and then rerigged. all I can say is thank god it rained saturday night so the take out at rancho was not that bad at all. next time i go Ill put in @ noon thirty to avoid the crowds
Who's your monkey?
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Old 08-07-2013   #9
Summit County, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 153
I'm all for partying on the river, don't get me wrong. I just think that people need to be more respectful of other boaters, the river itself, and the ramps/access points that we are lucky enough to have. I agree with policing ourselves. I just wish that other people were mature enough to do the same without having to be told....multiple times.

I also think that a lot of the partiers/tubers/nudies, etc. we're referring to are not on the 'buzz, unfortunately.
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Old 08-07-2013   #10
Plunk your magic twanger!
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New Castle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,105
The entities who have secured and improved access are on the 'buzz though. Their efforts deserve to be applauded. The lowest demoninator does not represent our boating community. State Bridge is in the unique position of being the takeout ramp for rafters and the destination for festivarians looking for a party scene at the venue. I haven't witnessed the river trashing or extremely rude ramp behavior myself, but these problems are worth discussing here. It's not the partying I object to, it's when other people's behavior starts affecting my (and others') enjoyment of the river, and also harms the environment. Then I agree that it should be addressed. As we have experienced elsewhere, having an "official" at the ramp can often make things go much more quickly and smoothly.

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