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Old 09-01-2015   #71
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
Something of interest that I discovered during my short time with ranch employees, was that the ranch actually employs their own wildlife biologist. I was surprised. What group(s) representing river rafters and fishermen interacts most directly with the ranch?

Keeper hole vs. being arrested, I will choose arrested any day.

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Old 09-02-2015   #72
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Overseas, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
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Posts: 135
Thank you for posting this!!!

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Old 09-02-2015   #73
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 130
I was surprised
Blue Valley Ranch

A vision, mission, or any statement of purpose provides the commonality between the very different activities of an organization. A staff with very diverse backgrounds, carrying out very diverse programs, is united in a common goal. Below are examples from Blue Valley Ranch's master plan:

The vision of Blue Valley Ranch is to recreate a pristine, natural landscape with corresponding ecological function to produce a landscape of high quality aesthetics, biodiversity, and wildlife habitat. The ranch will be a model for the integration of land, animal, financial and human resources for long-term sustainability, ecological stewardship, production and recreation.
The mission of Blue Valley Ranch is:
To preserve open space, the natural aesthetic quality of the landscape and the cultural values of a rural community.
To maintain a healthy, functioning rangeland by improving hydrology, biodiversity and landscape diversity to support native wildlife species and a combination of grazing animals.
To create a pleasurable and safe environment and provide the best recreational experience for guests.
To demonstrate the successful integration of all system resources for efficient resource use.
To serve as an educational example of systems management and resource integration.
To raise high quality commodity products, including hay, bison and beef, to the satisfaction of the consumer.
To function as a foundation in service and support of guests, employees and the surrounding community.
In my opinion, The Blue Valley Ranch and Paul Jones are far from the worst people in the world. Yes, they are known for a maniacal enforcement of the trespass laws in the riparian zone. But they are not the only ones, its a state problem. Go put your raft in below Windy Gap and try to float to Kremmling if you want to see real conflict.

I have no idea whether they have a relationship with American Whitewater or Trout Unlimited. For sure they have a very extensive relationship with Grand County Government and the DOW. They are funding a large amount of the current Highway 9 project.

As I'm sure you know, western Grand County is not a wealthy place and is generally run by some older school ranching families. Jones has invested and donated substantially is this area and in held in a positive light. Directly and indirectly people like him and the Grand River Ranch provide a measurable amount of jobs.

That said, we are talking about a guy who's net worth is pushing $5B and is rumored to have spent $1M on the new paint job for his Gulfstream you see sitting out at the airport.

Thread drift of the thread drift: Who oversees private property owners who make changes to the streambed? What are the "rules" regarding creating hazards or altering the river channel so you are forced to touch the bottom? How about portaging for safety reasons around a man made hazard?
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Old 09-02-2015   #74
Denver/ North Park Hill, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 36
"The only shit show is this thread, everyone involved should consider themselves lucky they weren't all arrested, the BV Ranch personnel must be mellowing with age, 10 years ago the sheriff would have been called and any and all gear would have been confiscated and the perps would have been all on their way to Sulpher to spend the night to see the judge. Call for HELP!?! Take responsibilty for your own ignorance and limitations fer cryan out loud, and at that level you could walkout on the diversion and pull them off. Flame away. "

In fact, at this level it is NOT safe to walk out on that diversion damn and pull the mini me out. Maybe if there was a larger rig with something to safely hook a rope to in order to pull out, but that was not the case. Given the fact that a swimmer already got sucked down under the boat and recirced for a while, I think the call to not put anyone else in that spot was the right call. Thanks for the positive and helpful feedback, but the boat was surfing in a keeper hole with a deployed bow line. I think anyone involved would have loved to have YOU personally volunteer to walk out there and hail marry jump onto the boat surfing a keeper hole with a deployed line. The boaters involved opted not to put any member of the group in additional danger because it was deemed unnecessary. I agree with Catwoman that jail over injury/death any day. I can say with 100% confidence that the members of this group are NOT ignorant and that they accessed their limitations and options and made the right calls to avoid HAVING to involve emergency response teams. Instead, they opted for safety and made the call to risk jail and the gear for everyone's safety. That was the right call.
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Old 09-02-2015   #75
Jackson, Wyoming
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 276
Originally Posted by Jamie D. View Post
Blue Valley Ranch

Thread drift of the thread drift: Who oversees private property owners who make changes to the streambed? What are the "rules" regarding creating hazards or altering the river channel so you are forced to touch the bottom? How about portaging for safety reasons around a man made hazard?
Most major alterations, such as installation of diversion structures, should require approval from the corps of engineers, and should also require input from state and possibly federal wildlife managers. Depending on scope, this may involve NEPA as well. So through all that, NEW structures should be safe and generally environmentally sound, but there are plenty of old structures that are quite dangerous, and generally don't fit any of the things they would be required to now.

State rules for portaging vary a lot, and even within states interpretation/enforcement of laws seems to vary quite a bit by area (at least in Wyoming).

Diversion structures in general should be considered to generate sticky holes until proven otherwise, so they should always be approached with caution. There are plenty of places where an otherwise calm fishing stretch will have a structure with potential for big consequences, even if they don't manifest very often.

From the description of the landowner, it actually sounds to me like there is a lot of potential to mitigate this spot- they've got money and it sounds like a desire for improvement of the river/riparian. Sounds like they would like to minimize recreational impact on their land. If approached the right way, a rebuild of the structure could benefit everyone involved. There is money out there for this sort of thing, so it is not as though the landowner would be asked to foot the bill for the whole thing to benefit boaters. I think I would probably approach it through either the biologist the ranch employs, or possibly the Auquatic Habitat Biologist for the region with DOW or whatever CO calls them.
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Old 09-02-2015   #76
slavetotheflyrod's Avatar
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 98
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 387
People -

I can speak from two decades of experience on this run - Yes, in the past BVR took a heavy handed approach to enforcing trespass. Yes, in the past people were issued citations, and it's been rumored that gear was confiscated and people physically arrested. I have not as yet spoken with anyone who was physically arrested or had gear confiscated. As those rumors have proven un-founded, I consider them just that, rumors. At present, BVR appears to be taking a very light handed approach to trespassing enforcement. On a float two years ago, one us hooked and landed a huge fish in sight of one of the ranch staff. The staffer came over, introduced himself, and informed us that they have no problem with people getting out of the boat to revive a big fish, so long as they're not fishing while out of the boat. Turns out that fella was Perry Handyside, the now-former ranch mgr.
As for trespassing due to a river emergency - Even back in the day they didn't arrest, cite, or otherwise harass anyone dealing with a puncture or any other ordeal, rumors aside at least to my knowledge.

In the past, BVR heavily stocked the river, and pellet fed their pet fish. Guys like me and many others floated it regularly and caught boat loads of huge, dumb, slimy, pellet fed stockers. In the past few years they've changed course. They no longer stock the big, dumb fish, and as far as I can tell they've quit pellet feeding, or at least dialed it way back. The end result is a fishery that's becoming more "natural" with each passing season. Wild browns are taking a solid foot hold in the ranch, and the bug life seems to be recovering. BVR does indeed have a wildlife biologist on staff, as well as a "fishing team" that fishes the river regularly and gathers data for the biologist. In my opinion the river was mis-managed in the past, and it would seem they're making amends now. Given the choice between the fishery of old, and what we have now, I'll take what we have now any day.

You can say what you want about Paul Jones, and believe me I've said my share, but you can't deny one simple fact - if he didn't own pretty much the entire valley from spring creek road on down it might very well have been parceled out and sold off bit by bit. Instead on one touchy land owner, you'd likely have dozens of entitled assholes trying to deny your right to float. I am also of the opinion that Paul Jones and his people have done a wonderful job of managing the land, and the evidence of that good stewardship is apparent with every moose, bear, otter, raptor that you'll likely see in BVR. The fact is, the lower Blue river valley is one of if not the least developed, least spoiled pieces of river in this state. I can think of few other rivers in this state without a highway or railroad running parallel the entire length. Quite honestly, If I had Paul Jones' kind of money I'd hope to find a place just like BVR for myself, and you'd all be welcome to float through any time.

And so you can take this for what it's worth - I first ran this stretch in about 1998, and I've probably averaged 7-10 trips down it a year since then.
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Old 09-02-2015   #77
dafewillis's Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 143
Thanks, slavetotheflyrod, for that fair and measured assessment of BVR. Your points on their conservation management are good ones.

Hoping for a clarification from the OP or Andy - the diversion dam that gave you the problem was the one with 2 successive drops? The first drop bigger and the second drop a little smaller? And so this was *not* the diversion dam that has the sandstone wall on river right and is in my opinion the dam with the highest single drop?

Glad you're all okay, and I'm so impressed with your willingness to open up and subsequently moderate this conversation. You're a couple of pros, and I've learned a lot.
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Old 09-02-2015   #78
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
Here is a link to the Spot notification that might help clarify exactly where we were (assuming this works). Keep in mind that we had additional phone connectivity with our outside help. The message on this notification is put in through the website before the trip.

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Old 09-02-2015   #79
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909

Another alternative is to paste the coordinates into Google Maps or another program.

3955'46.8"N 10621'14.8"W


39.929667, -106.354111

Does anyone know the status of the proposed land swap that BVR was working toward to acquire public lands along the Blue?


Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 10-27-2015   #80
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Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 98
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 387
So once again this same float spanks some newbs. A trio from Texas in a brand spanking new Maravia/Stream Tech got sideways on the same weir referenced above resulting in a total yard sale. One passenger took an oar to the noggin and had a gash that would require stitches, both oars and all sorts of gear over the side, several broken fly rods and so on. We came upon it after the drama had subsided, got the low down from the guys who saved their asses. It sounded like these guys had no plan for such a mishap besides relying on others for help. Luckily for them that worked out.

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