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Old 02-01-2010   #41
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Denver via GJ, Colorado
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I think it is becoming time that a movement needs to be made to get recreational use of Colorado water ways on the public ballot (I think we still have the right to petition for this?). Screw these bills written for one side or the other.

There is no way that the citizens of this state, presented with a public vote, would deny themselves the right to use what should be public water ways. Although attempts would be made to have it determined unconstitutional, if written properly, it would also create a very major hurdle for agressive land overs to over come because the public will have spoken.
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Old 02-01-2010   #42
 
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So maybe the legal team could look into the legality of the riverbed alterations that this landowner did?

In a past thread someone mentioned seeing a bulldozer doing some work.

In the most recent Denver Post article someone from the land developer's team talked about how much money they spent altering the riverbed to improve their fishing experience and using that as some kind of justification for them owning the river and not wanting boaters to scare the fish.

It seems to me that bulldozing a river in Colorado would take a mountain of permits, at least I hope that it would. I wonder if they told the state they were going to do so much terraforming?
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Old 02-01-2010   #43
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadster View Post
News story with landowner's attorney stating: "There isn't any right to float in Colorado, that's folklore."

See http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/138947
"

Hill further argues that the right to navigate across rivers running through private property — commonly called the “right to float” — is a fallacy. He cites a 31-year-old criminal case decided by the Colorado Supreme Court in which a man was convicted of trespassing for tubing through private land on the Colorado River. The highest court in the state ruled “the public has no right to the use of waters overlying private lands for recreational purposes without the consent of the owner.”

Anyone with more law background then me know which case this is and exactly how they are using it as precedence? Not that I am super up on this subject but if there was a valid precedence on this I would have thought I would have seen it referenced on the buzz before.
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Old 02-01-2010   #44
 
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If one were to present an argument to a governing body, I believe an appropriate analogy would be, "A river is a public highway." There are several benefits to such an argument:

1) such an argument removes the "recreation" aspect out of the argument. Unfortunately, no judicial decision is going to choose recreation over commerce. Private boaters need to stand behind commercial companies on this issue. Treated as a road, this Texan is essentially saying, "I want my commercial fishing business to thrive at the expense of other competing businesses."

2) By considering a river a highway, easy to understand is how a floater can expect to go through someone's property. Just as a public highway that travels across land owned privately on both sides of said interstate does not intuitively seem to be allowing people to trespass, then neither would right to float legislation seem to be allowing people to do so.

Just my two cents. Not sure if it makes sense, but my brother isn't a boater and he seemed to understand what I was implying.
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Old 02-01-2010   #45
 
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Originally Posted by Ture View Post
So maybe the legal team could look into the legality of the riverbed alterations that this landowner did?

In a past thread someone mentioned seeing a bulldozer doing some work.

In the most recent Denver Post article someone from the land developer's team talked about how much money they spent altering the riverbed to improve their fishing experience and using that as some kind of justification for them owning the river and not wanting boaters to scare the fish.

It seems to me that bulldozing a river in Colorado would take a mountain of permits, at least I hope that it would. I wonder if they told the state they were going to do so much terraforming?
The Army Corps of Engineers issues permits for in-stream fish habitat work. The state, as I understand it, isn't involved.
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Old 02-01-2010   #46
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Pretty interesting stuff. With regards to the current law (or lack there of):
I think the Denver Post article sums it properly:

The courts and the legislature decades ago decided and re-decided the right-to-float issue on the criminal side, and it's not a crime to pass through private property on a river.

But in the past three decades, there has been no such definitive answer for whether floaters can be sued for civil trespass if they float through private land.

There was a discussion about this a while back. Take a look at Caspian's response on page 2 - it offers a pretty good explanation of the current lack of clarity in Colorado law.

Right to float issue heating up in Steamboat Springs.

It's very frustrating and I agree it would be nice if we would just pass a law that grants river users passage and clearly defines the terms.

It's times like this that it helps me to remember how many great landowners there are out there even though it only takes one to ruin things. I think of the property owner on Bailey who owns the property by Four Falls. Despite a fairly large amount of traffic on that land there are been minimal issues with people portaging 4 falls. Whenever I've seen people there, people have always been friendly and frequently want to stop and watch the boaters run the drops. Then there were some landowners on the Big T. that helped retrieve a boat and offered to stash it in their yard until it could be picked up. Sorry for the diversion, just trying to convince myself that humanity is not necessarily doomed.
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Old 02-01-2010   #47
 
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Looks like John Hill will likely need to leave the state if he is successful with this client. Everyone in Gunison will be so forgiving.
No he will be treated as a hero in the circles that he hangs out with and I am not jokin..

He believes and will tell you that he alone killed the last right to float bill and still has no problem walkin the streets of the gunny valley.... If sucessfull this will just be another feather to put in his hat...

I have had other dealings with this man in the past or to put it another way - to any of you looking into this I would not underestimate mr john hill... He is very connected, has been in the colorado water biz for over 20 years, and is very very well financed...

Here is a bit more info for you that dont know about mr john hill...

John Hill, Partner, Bratton & Hill, Gunnison, Co | Spoke

I will be the first to say that this bill is not perfect but it is a step in the right direction.. Do not doubt that the hill camp is doing everything it can right now behind the scenes in the legislature - to make sure that you and I will not have the "right" to float any river in Colorado!!
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Old 02-01-2010   #48
 
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"In private practice, John represented a family-owned ranch in a successful lawsuit against a commercial rafter for trespass for floating through private property."

I hope they aren't calling the "Wilder on the Taylor" a family-owned ranch.
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Old 02-01-2010   #49
 
Gunnison, Colorado
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John Hill and his friends may have the money, but we have the numbers.

Lets not let a few bad land owners ruin river running for everyone.
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