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Old 11-08-2017   #1
 
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Repost from RRFW Riverwire (via Tom Martin/RGC)

RRFW Riverwire – The ARK River Needs Your Comments NOW
November 7, 2017

The Arkansas River is the nation’s most popular river destination, including Browns Canyon, the Numbers, Royal Gorge, and the flatwater section through the town of Salida, Colorado.

One hundred fifty two miles of the Arkansas (called the Ark) are managed by the State of Colorado’s Division of Parks and Wildlife in the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA). The State is revising the AHRA Management Plan for only the second time in the history of Ark river running.

There has only been one river management plan on the Ark, implemented in 2001. Comments on the new plan for river paddling on the Ark are being taken through November 10.

Do-it-yourself river recreation has been averaging roughly 25,000 paddlers a year for the last twenty five years. Commercial paddlers over the same time period went from 180,000 boaters in the early 1990s to a high of 312,000 in 2000. Commercial use has decreased since 2000 down to 250,000 paddlers in 2014. Over the last fifteen years, river health has improved and adverse impacts have decreased.

The new plan proposes an allocation and permit system for do-it-yourself river recreation, even while commercial use has decreased and do-it-yourself use has not changed over the last two decades.
Your comments are needed before close of business November 10, 2017. Please note you must comment on your own for your comments to count.

Tell AHRA managers:
1) Please ask for an extension of the comment period. 30 days out of 34 years is a mighty short time for the public to consider the past, review plans for the next 17 years of management for the Ark, and formulate comments.

2) Twenty five years of river use patterns show there is no need to permit or allocate do-it-yourself river recreationists.

3) If river recreation impacts are to be limited, cap commercial use at the present 250,000 users.

4) In the Granite to the Numbers section, do not reduce do it yourself boating capacities (as outlined in the Proposed Action).

5) In the Numbers to Railroad Bridge section, the AHRA must conduct additional research on boating capacities before reducing the do-it-yourself river recreation capacities (as outlined in the Proposed Action).

6) In the Fisherman’s Bridge to Stone Bridge section, increase do-it-yourself river recreation capacities in Section 2b to be equal to or greater than commercial capacities.

To post your comments to AHRA, go to the following web portal:
https://www.research.net/r/AHRA-MP

Copy your comments to the following critical representatives (even if you live out of state): They are unaware of this draft plan.

• Bob Broscheid Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife [email protected]

• Colorado Parks and Wildlife Board Member Carrie Besnette Hauser [email protected]

• If you live in Colorado, e-mail a copy of your comments to your Colorado General Assembly Representative here: Find My Legislator | Colorado General Assembly

For additional information:
You can review the Draft plan here:
http://cpw.state.co.us/…/P…/AHRAPubl...-EA_171010.pdf

You can see American Whitewater’s Alert on this plan here:
https://www.americanwhitewater.org/…...ticleid/33901/

The Arkansas River Private Boaters Coalition Alert on this plan is here:
2017 Ark Mgmt Plan

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Old 11-08-2017   #2
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Thanks for posting this readNrun.
I also pointed out that the private trip season is MUCH longer than the commercial season,( some years, it is even year round) thereby spreading out private use over a much longer portion of the year.
It would not make sense to hold private numbers to even the same number as commercial trips, for this reason alone.
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Old 11-08-2017   #3
 
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Andrew - Thanks for posting this!

I just provided detailed comments and really appreciate being able to reference and also "borrow" language from the American Whitewater and Colorado Whitewater comment documents to revise and supplement my own comments.

Among other things I have asked for increased trailer-friendly access points from below Number 5 Rapid through Lake Pueblo.

In particular, some comments on more popular reaches:

Quote:
10. Section 2b: Fisherman’s Bridge to Stone Bridge (Incl. Browns Canyon National Monument)
I frequently boat and camp on this section on weekends and am able to avoid crowds by simply timing my launch to avoid commercial fleets. I concur with the AW recommendation to increase private boating capacities in Section 2b to be equal to or greater than commercial capacities. I generally support the Proposed Action to increase both management and development of Browns Canyon. I strongly support enforcement of waste and firepan regulations at campsites and strongly discourage CPW from implementing a fee-based reservation system for camping unless absolutely necessary to protect the environment and the user experience from degradation. I have never been unable to find a suitable campsite on Brown's Canyon and feel that education is the solution to resource preservation rather than a permit system.

16. Section 4b: Texas Creek to Parkdale
Thank you for reestablishing the AHRA trailer-friendly boat ramp at Texas Creek! I would like to see a concrete boat ramp at Pinnacle Rock so private boaters can mitigate crowding by quickly taking out or launching at this ramp. I have been disappointed by placement of a stone step that prevents trailers from reaching the water at this ramp. I would like to see a new boat ramp installed at 5-Points and additional trailer-friendly boat ramps installed throughout this reach.

19. Please use the space below to provide any additional comments you may have in regard to the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area draft management plan .
I have rafted the entire Arkansas River from below Number 5 Rapid to Canon City with my first experience being in 1984. As a private boater I use leave-no-trace practices and frequently enjoy camping on Brown's Canyon or other locations along the river. The Arkansas River is very dear to me and provides a large portion of my outdoor recreation experience. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the management plan.

Please extend the comment period and add an open house in Denver, where many stakeholders live. I do not understand how private boaters are being considered for a fee-based permit system under some scenarios when we comprise approximately 10%, if not less, of total river use. I generally concur with the comments provided by Colorado Whitewater and American Whitewater. I have been able to avoid crowds by scheduling my launches to avoid commercial traffic or boating other reaches of the river. I feel that improved trailer access above Buena Vista could encourage private boaters to take advantage of the whitewater in this reach and help mitigate crowding on Brown’s Canyon.

When private boaters exceeded limits in the early 2000s, we responded by successfully self-regulating and educating our stakeholder group to prevent exceedances in the future. As private boater numbers have actually decreased in the past 15 years, the suggestion of a permit system for private boaters is a solution in search of a problem. Or an effort to cater to fishermen. I oppose implementation of permit systems on private boaters under the current usage patterns.
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Old 11-09-2017   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattman View Post
Thanks for posting this readNrun.
I also pointed out that the private trip season is MUCH longer than the commercial season,( some years, it is even year round) thereby spreading out private use over a much longer portion of the year.
It would not make sense to hold private numbers to even the same number as commercial trips, for this reason alone.

I'm trying to wrap my head around where you stand on this, and the point your trying to make.


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Old 11-09-2017   #5
 
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I think the point is that when comparing the number of commercial users to private users, private users are spread out over a much longer time period, so their impact towards busy river days compared to commercial users is even less than the data would suggest. At least that’s one possible point that I gathered from this statement.
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Old 11-09-2017   #6
 
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My understanding is the private vs commercial boat quotas are on a daily basis. So it doesn't matter that private boaters are spread across a longer season from AHRA's perspective.

If I'm incorrect on this, please correct me. Logan?

-AH
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Old 11-09-2017   #7
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Protechie is correct, that is my point.

If Quotas for private boaters are by day, as they are for commercial trips, then it would make that point no longer valid.I am also interested to know if that is the case or not.

It does seem like a harder statistic to keep accurately. Outfitters are required to keep documentation of all there trips. To keep track of numbers for private trips you have fee stations and volunteers at some of the access points. You do not really know the numbers for ahra pass holders, or users of the none fee area river access sites.
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Old 11-10-2017   #8
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What Andy H said really does do a pretty good job of describing where I stand on the subject as well.

I don't think limiting private boater numbers on the Arkansas is needed at this time.
In my experience, it has always been possible to avoid the crowds by adjusting your launch time. Late afternoon and evening is a special time to be on the water, and far nicer then boating during the heat of the day, in my opinion.

Education hear is key, not more regs.
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Old 11-10-2017   #9
 
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Today's the last day to comment!

Bump! Hey Folks, today's the last day to comment as I haven't seen anything about an extension.

Please go to the link below to post your comment. I recommend checking out the AW and CW comments before making your comments.

Thanks All!

-AH

Quote:
Originally Posted by readNrun View Post
To post your comments to AHRA, go to the following web portal:
https://www.research.net/r/AHRA-MP

Copy your comments to the following critical representatives (even if you live out of state): They are unaware of this draft plan.

• Bob Broscheid Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife [email protected]

• Colorado Parks and Wildlife Board Member Carrie Besnette Hauser [email protected]

• If you live in Colorado, e-mail a copy of your comments to your Colorado General Assembly Representative here: Find My Legislator | Colorado General Assembly

For additional information:
You can review the Draft plan here:
http://cpw.state.co.us/…/P…/AHRAPubl...-EA_171010.pdf

You can see American Whitewater’s Alert on this plan here:
https://www.americanwhitewater.org/…...ticleid/33901/

The Arkansas River Private Boaters Coalition Alert on this plan is here:
2017 Ark Mgmt Plan
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Old 11-10-2017   #10
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I commented on the sections that I run and asked for an extension. Everyone needs to be commenting since this will effect all of us for the next 20 years.
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