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Old 07-07-2015   #1
All over, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 38
River Runners BV

I'm not the guy that typically calls a company out like this, but I sure as hell am now. Three occasions this past week my group had the opportunity to meet guides from River runners.

On 6/26 it was at the Hecla Boat ramp. One of their guides took it upon himself to move our stuff out of the way on the ramp. We had 2 rafts and a shredder, we've all been doing this long enough to know how the boat ramp works and we weren't in anyones way. I think the guide was just flexing his little hippy arms for his clients.

On 6/30 we had a group of 2 rafts and a shredder going through toilet bowl/widowmaker, River Runners blew through the rapid as we were entering splitting our group. No communication whatsoever.

7/2 Same thing in the same rapid. A little lower water, so a little tighter. Once again, split our group with no communication.

We weren't in any danger. We're all capable of maneuvering our crafts in class 3 water, but what if it were someone else. On 7/2 I was in a kayak, I was literally scrambling to get out from in between the two RR boats.

I understand Browns canyon is a busy place for commercials especially with the higher water, but it's all of our resource. The only reason we were there is we had non rafting passengers from out of town. They all took note of the company and I'm sure will spread the word in their respective home towns. If you're guiding a boat that has the name of your company in huge letters on the side, you should be smarter than that too. I'm guessing these guides' egos are bigger than their skillsets.

I called them this morning to give them a heads up as to how they were being represented. I spoke with Travis ?? the general manager. He told me that the concrete boat ramp was for commercials and privates were supposed to take out in the eddy below in the sand. He also told me that commercial rafts have the right of way. I saw this conversation going nowhere and spoke with the owner Kevin, he listened well.

I'm not asking for anything from these guys, just trying to bring to light the attitude these little punks have. I believe, and could be wrong, that when you pay for that AHRA pass you have the same access as everyone else. Please chime in if you know something I don't.

Remember guides. You're a raft guide not a freaking astronaut!

Shannon (must be getting old)

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Old 07-07-2015   #2
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 808
You are WAY too easily bothered.

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Old 07-07-2015   #3
mattman's Avatar
Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,046
That's assanine saying commercials have the right of way. Was a guide on lower ark for many years and that is bull.

Commercial trips usually move much faster then privates, do to weight and schedule, finding the desire to pass, But they do not have the "right of way"especially mid toilet bowl, good communication and eticate should be part of the skill set for a river professional.

Outfitters do have something that private boaters do not, a revokeable river outfitters licence, though that is not something it would be taken for, you do need to do something if your rookies start to get that sort of god complex.

Sorry runner guides are getting that poor of an attitude, I have not seen that from them before.

Brings up the notion that now that browns is a National monument, the Park service might begin to limit user days for commercial outfitters a bit more, that stretch has been VERY busy for a long time.

You could talk to AHRA about the issues, and they would have the official word on the boat ramp use issue, i believe there is a sine at the sand ramp, it may tell privates to use the sand ramp, but not sure.

Of course in the mean time there is the strategy to do our best to avoid times that commercial trips are on the water, It is often realy nice floating then.

Happy boating, hope your summer is without additional bone head rookies.
" I wish I were a headlight, on a North bound train..."
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Old 07-07-2015   #4
mattman's Avatar
Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,046
Don't know the details with 2 rafts and kayak, but kayaks do yield to rafts as they are the sports car, and the raft,( especially if loaded with custies that don't padle) can not allways avoid them.
" I wish I were a headlight, on a North bound train..."
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Old 07-07-2015   #5
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,373
You said you spoke to the owner and he "listened well". And now you're on the www trashing his company. Seems like as big a transgression as you're accusing the guides of. Its crowded on Browns, but it is church. Bring your best attitude.
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Old 07-07-2015   #6
Castle Rock, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 321
Moving your gear without your permission is criminal trespass. It is not his ramp, it belongs to the government, and he is not authorized to touch any property but his own and his employer's. I suggest a call to the county sherriff. It will clarify things for 'Travis'.
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Old 07-07-2015   #7
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
Originally Posted by shannon s View Post
I'm guessing these guides' egos are bigger than their skillsets.
I've never heard of such a thing!

But seriously, I've never heard that commercial rafts have the right of way - maybe he was thinking of the fact that kayaks should yield to rafts. It's a fact of life that paddle boats in general, and commercial trips in particularly, go a lot faster. I always try to be aware of any other groups I could interfere with or vise versa, and invite the commercials to pass on the flatwater so they're not close behind me going through rapids.

I use the concrete ramp and try to be considerate of others, using one end of the ramp and letting the commercials have the rest. A lot of times they've helped me load my boat on the trailer and I've been in there helping them load their boats as well. Knowing Hecla can be a total zoo and proactive communication with the others on the ramp goes a long way - as does understanding they're on a tight schedule.

Ditto to what mattman said - it's all about timing your trip so you're not there when all the commercials are there too. Ditto to what Phil says - bring a good attitude as well - that's the main thing.

In over a decade I've generally had good interactions with RiverRunners and really appreciate that they allow private boaters to launch from their ramp for a minimal fee.

Hopefully all our interactions with the commercials will be courteous for the rest of the summer, however sometimes guides (and other private boaters) can be jerks. It's not an issue of a particular company and I've had many, many more positive interactions with outfitters than negative.

Working to prevent ramp rage,

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 07-07-2015   #8
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 24
Commercial outfitters don't have any more rights than private boaters on the river or at the boat ramps. We all just need to be efficient with our time and considerate of each other's gear at the ramps. If you have trouble with a guide or a company, try to get their name and a description (PFD color, helmet color) and please let AHRA know. Their comment page may be gone, but you can send them an email or post on their Facebook page. With discussions of the new Management Plan, this type of thing is important for future management issues.
What are you doing HERE!!! For crying out loud...GO BOAT!!
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Old 07-07-2015   #9
All over, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 38
Phil, this is hardly "trashing" his company, I'm stating exactly what we saw. Saying the owner was a "good listener" is merely acknowledging the fact that he didn't act like ass like his general manager, Travis did.
As a business owner myself, I know the value of public feedback. I also think its important to have these discussions in a somewhat public forum. Is it at all realistic to think that these guides would learn a big lesson by having a private chat. Of all the commercials we saw, and there were a bunch, on the river in 4 days the only one that made an impression was river runners. Unfortunately it was negative.
What's really funny is Travis, the gm for river runners called AHRA after our conversation this morning to complain about a private boater complaining to him. He was told the boat ramp is for everyone and no commercials do not have the right of way. Maybe the more important lesson is is to choose your managers better.

Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz
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Old 07-07-2015   #10
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 36
Shannon, it seems you have a tough time understanding Browns canyon.

1.Bigger boats get right of way. If you see a larger boat coming through you are supposed to pull over in an eddy. It is easier for a 9' shredder to catch eddies than a 14' raft. This leads me to my next point.

2. In Zoom Flume there is one (maybe two) mid rapid eddies. However in Toilet Bowl and Widowmaker there are about 10 eddies, yes 10 whole eddies. The water on the right side even pulls you into the eddies. If you can't catch those you should consider running fractions for awhile.

3. If you are running Browns on the weekend you are being super naive not expecting commercial traffic. Browns is THE MOST HEAVILY rafted section in the U.S. Commercial boats don't have any more right of way than private, but if you choose to private boat during prime time (surprising you did since you say you been on Browns plenty before) you gotta expect lots of traffic. And as always the easiest way to meander through the traffic is to eddy out (which unfortunately it seems you are unable to do) and let the overtaking group pass.

4. Finally I was there doing a ride along with my friend who works for runners, the "hippy dippy" one with "hippy dippy arms" (a true pity you seem to get off you talking down to people like that, get some tissues first). You're gear was sprawled across Hecla, he had asked you several times to move your gear since there were THREE OTHER companies taking out at the same time. And as the story goes you did not move your gear. Sorry my friend, but you can't just sprawl your gear out during commercial prime time and not expect it to be an issue (once again I thought you were familiar with Browns).

Larger boats have right of way. Learn how to eddy out. And if you don't want issues with commercial traffic don't travel at prime time and keep your gear condensed and off to the sides.

Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz

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