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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As you know floating season is almost here and I would like to get the word out about the awesome river here in Lake City that is being missed out on. Boat traffic has pretty much disappeared here on the Lake Fork after a lawsuit between landowners and a commercial rafting company. The company had to fold because of financial problems. In the past couple of years there has been only one or two boats besides mine float the stretch from town down. There is a ranch about a mile out of town that has been threatening with lawsuits for a few years now. They seem to get more upset about fishing while floating through the stretch of their ranch, but why give up one right to be able to enjoy another. I have fished alot of rivers and there is not another that even comes close to this one. If you want to be disappointed when you hook up with a little 24 inch cut bow this is the stretch for you. The river needs more boaters (fishing or not). The Lake Fork has pretty short floating season so it would not be hard to get alot more traffic on the river. Please help support the right to float. If landowners get there way on this one your favorite river could be next!
 

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I like the idea of flooding the Lake Fork with boaters to force the dickhead rancher to do something stupid. Besides being a pretty stretch of river through one the last authentic, non-I-70 themepark mountain towns, it's a flashpoint in the established right to float. Thanks for the reminder, doughboy. Time for a Lake City roadtrip this summer.
 

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As you know floating season is almost here and I would like to get the word out about the awesome river here in Lake City that is being missed out on. Boat traffic has pretty much disappeared here on the Lake Fork after a lawsuit between landowners and a commercial rafting company. The company had to fold because of financial problems. In the past couple of years there has been only one or two boats besides mine float the stretch from town down. There is a ranch about a mile out of town that has been threatening with lawsuits for a few years now. They seem to get more upset about fishing while floating through the stretch of their ranch, but why give up one right to be able to enjoy another. I have fished alot of rivers and there is not another that even comes close to this one. If you want to be disappointed when you hook up with a little 24 inch cut bow this is the stretch for you. The river needs more boaters (fishing or not). The Lake Fork has pretty short floating season so it would not be hard to get alot more traffic on the river. Please help support the right to float. If landowners get there way on this one your favorite river could be next!
Is the stretch from town down to the High Bridge floatable, with no obstructions? I boat the Lake Fork a lot, but I always steer clear of there in favor of the town run, or runs downstream. I would love to float through that section but I was always under the assumption there was fences and/or ranch hazards - low bridges & dams - through that section. If it's clear and boatable I will make it a point to float through it this summer! as often as I can!

What about the stretch upstream, from Argenta to Crooke's? Is it too privatized in there to do anything?
 

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Rights to "Use of" and "Access to/from"

I, also, have fished the Lake Fork and would highly recommend it to boaters and fishermen alike. It's a good one!

As shown in this thread:

http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f14/utah-bill-will-limit-river-access-23177.html ,

for the past several months, I have been and continue to be closely involved in the Utah "Recreational USE of Public Waters On Private Streambeds" defeated (poorly written and offpoint) and upcoming new legislative bills.

I am also involved in the Lower Blue River Management Plan where the private interests are to restrict and control through boating permits through the Green Mountain Canyon and Valley sections rather than the publics' interests, as expressed by CWWA and AW in their public comments, for improvements to manage the lower 15 mile corridor of the Blue.

Instead of thinking in terms of "Right to FLOAT", which has to do with touching the surface of the water, rather, think in terms of "Right to the USE of Public Waters Incidental to Recreational Activities", which covers touching the streambed.

Also, keep in mind that "USE of" is a different right than ACCESS to/from" public waters.

What has been and continues to be going on in Utah and Montana court rulings and legislation is very relevant to the Lake Fork Cannibal case and our recreational rights here in Colorado.

On the Lake Fork and other bodies of the Colorado state waters, you already have long settled Federally protected rights to the use of, access to/from public lands, portage under certain circumstances, "navigability in fact as in law" just as the private property owner has rights to ownership, privacy, etc. However, Colorado's state laws have never been Clarified to synch up with the Federal laws.

Just as the private landowner is protected by trespassing and limited liability, under certain circumstances, laws, the public waterowner and user is protected by harassment and limited liability, under certain other circumstances, laws as well. Print out copies to take with you and, if the landowner violates those laws, have them enforced just as the landowners can do with theirs.

Both and together, the private landowners and public waterowners have Coexisting rights. Such being the case, the private property owners' rights are Dominant over the Servient easements and rights of the water owner/user rights when they are about rights, easements, estates, etc., Above the defined water mark, whether high or low, and the opposite is true when the rights, easements, estates, etc, are Below the defined water mark. The defined water mark is very important in defining the various rights of both interests.

The challenge of all this is that these rights aren't Clarified here in Colorado.

The issue is discussed by PatrickT, one of the main ColoradoWhitewater.org people, in http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f11/ignore-your-rights-and-theyll-go-away-10146.html and in the Colorado Whitewater page at http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Wiki/do-op/id/access:co NOTE, especially in the paragraph just above "Miscellaneous" paragraph, where it reads, "...(or the legislature provides further clarification on)".

btw, the Lake Fork Cannibal case is mentioned in the "Miscellaneous" paragraph.

The legislative alternative may be where your involvement can come into play, rather than or along with testing the issue out on the water with a court case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Right to Use

Thank you Ole Rivers for the post. I appreciate all the great information. I think you might be someone that I need to keep in contact with because this could be the year especially if the river traffic doesn't increase. thanks again! FLOAT THE LAKE FORK
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
lAKE FORK

Yes the stretch from town to High Bridge is very Floatable. At high water there is one bridge that if you have a fishing frame it could be a problem but you can scout it from the road. It is the bridge before the Lake Fork fishing Club. It usually is not a problem. There is a take before this bridge if needed. thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Argenta to Crooke's

Not real sure about Argenta to Crooke's. I know for sure I'm not doing it in a super puma. I know someone that has ran it and if you want I'll get more information on that stretch.
 

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Yes the stretch from town to High Bridge is very Floatable. At high water there is one bridge that if you have a fishing frame it could be a problem but you can scout it from the road. It is the bridge before the Lake Fork fishing Club. It usually is not a problem. There is a take before this bridge if needed. thanks
Muchas gracias. I looked at that stretch in Google Earth today, and there looks to be a whole string of what look to be mostly fishing impoundments with maybe one or two irrigation dams mixed in. I take it these are runnable then? We always put in just below there, at the first BLM access north of that private, right inside the little canyon....You'll have to guide me down this summer sometime, I will give you a holler the first time I come down.

I talked to a buddy who lives in LC one time about the Lake to Town stretch, he said it's all flatwater except for Argenta and Crooke's. He says they've both been ran, I would love to see video of that because those falls are insane! But floating that stretch and portaging them doesn't look to be an option so.........I dunno.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hey I'm not sure what google maps is showing but from town to the access where you usually put in is clear of any obstacles what so ever. As soon as the water comes up you can either come down and hop in my boat or follow me through. That offer is good for anyone who wants to check out the Lake Fork.
 

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this is just a snapshot from google earth, this is about halfway down in the middle of the first park below LC



this is just a brief section of it, but there are visible structures in the river like the ones above throughout these stretches, are these all easy plop-n-drop affairs? there is nothing too dangerous or retentive?
 

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Hey,
We paddled it last year in July around 830 CFS.
The Lake Fork Box section is beautiful...all class II or II+ there are a lot of strainers though and a few low bridges. If you plan on bringing a oar rig in there over 800 you will have to portage the second bridge and there is no eddy above it. We had a raft with a low profile oar rig and we scraped the bridge...kinda sketchy.
There is also a river wide strainer around mile 5 or 6 on a right hand bend...watch for it, you will need to catch a micro eddy and line the boat over the raft. Jace wacked the branches off the log last year so it is easy to line a raft over now.

the Gate-Red Bridge section has some sketchy river wide barbwire...there is a small gap on the center right side...you can not portage this, you must run it. We did have a rancher chase us down in his truck through this sestion as well.

It is a nice float. Good luck in there! it is class II/II+ with some crazy portages, strainers, barbwire, bugs and angry land owners. :)

I would probably do it again but not in a raft.

- Christine
 

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Hey,
We paddled it last year in July around 830 CFS.
The Lake Fork Box section is beautiful...all class II or II+ there are a lot of strainers though and a few low bridges. If you plan on bringing a oar rig in there over 800 you will have to portage the second bridge and there is no eddy above it. We had a raft with a low profile oar rig and we scraped the bridge...kinda sketchy.
There is also a river wide strainer around mile 5 or 6 on a right hand bend...watch for it, you will need to catch a micro eddy and line the boat over the raft. Jace wacked the branches off the log last year so it is easy to line a raft over now.

the Gate-Red Bridge section has some sketchy river wide barbwire...there is a small gap on the center right side...you can not portage this, you must run it. We did have a rancher chase us down in his truck through this sestion as well.

It is a nice float. Good luck in there! it is class II/II+ with some crazy portages, strainers, barbwire, bugs and angry land owners. :)

I would probably do it again but not in a raft.

- Christine
hey.....thanks for the info but we already knew all of that ;) thats the standard info per the bible or any info sites.

were talking about the stretch immediately below town, down to the put in of the pre box, which is above the box itself.
 

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so all those structures were put in a few years back. it was a form of river restoration that has made the town to high bridge even better. great fishing, some small play, and great views. i would say that the "worst" one would be the first horseshoe that is just a few miles n of town. it can be sticky or really shallow. seen many duckies and sit-on tops take a beating there, but doughboy makes it through with no problems. i havent done the section from the lake to town in some years. dont really know where you would put in other than the lake and take the plunge at argenta, its all private until town.
the section above the lake is fun but there is one strainer about half way. doughboy have you ever ran that with us? its like a low II or so. but it has a really small runoff time.
 

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word. i will definitely make it a point to boat that stretch this summer a few times. how about an overnighter from town to gateview, have you ever done that? stay at the gate c.g.? could be fun.....

i've run from sherman (actually cataract gulch TH) down to the bridge just before castle lakes, that was fast class II with a few minor boulders thrown in, and then the bottom mile above the lake itself. that was all flat water. i want to run the stretch just above Williams Creek C.G., which is a short blast of gradient, but the rocks look like theyre kinda sharp and unfriendly. i take it you have run this section? heres some pics for those that havent seen it:





 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
No i've never ran the stretch above the lake. When it is flowing good so is the town to high bridge run and I can't pull myself away from that stretch since it has a fairly short season itself. From high bridge to the gate does have obstacles at times but if you run it at the right level you never have to get out of your boat. Two years ago my ride didn't show up at high bridge so I decided to push on through to the Gate where a few other people had rides. My 18 month old son was sleeping on a bungee deck and didn't wake up until the gate. This might be a good year to do something about those strainers.
 

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yea when i was way young and didnt even have a roll my dad and i would go from town to red bridge in a day... a long day. but a few years back i decided to put in on henson at the ute ule and try and make it to blue mesa in a day. we ended up runnin red bridge at peak in the dark... way fun.

yea yeti i have run that stretch from williams creek down. its good but could see a duckie getting shredded in there. at peak it wouldnt be too bad.

dont forget about cottonwood. its a great 1/4 mile of full on V drop after drop.
lc has some of the best boating around mainly because you will never see anyone on the river except your group.
 

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Where's the legally problem areas, say, that ranch that was mentioned that keeps trying to keep people away? Just one place or are there others?

For id, I have an old BLM topo map that details and describes 7 different sections/easements...

1 Gateview CG --> Red Bridge CG (5 miles)
2 RB CG Upstream to Gorsuch Ranch ( 2 miles/Special regs 2 above 16" and return all rainbows flies and lures only) for 15 miles upstream)
3 GR fishing easement (.8 miles)
4 The Gate/Thomas Segment (2 miles)
5 The Big Bend (.5 mile w/special regs same as those in 2)
6 Seay Easement (300 yds)
7 Devil's Creek Segment (about 3.5 miles)
(could be different regs and more or less public locations/easements now but this can help me locate where you're talking about)

Also, are there public county roads or bridges where you could put in/take out but don't/can't because it's fenced or has signs or ??? to/within the public 60' Right of Way?

Also, Doughboy, how about IM'ing me your email? I may come by that way to release a couple gazillion 27ers or above ;) and check things out.
 

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the most problematic stretches are the stretch immediately below Lake City, down several miles until you reach the first BLM access in a short little canyon. the other stretch is immediately below the gate campground, where a very private ranch owner harasses boaters.
 
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