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As in removed someone's fences for keeping livestock where they are supposed to be?
In Colorado its been determined illegal to string a fence across a river or place any obstruction to prevent passage. This goes all the way back to a 1983 AG decision. So this has been known for a long long time, and many a stupidly entitled landowner have tried to pull of this kind of shady sh!t since...only to earn either a visit from the Sheriff or a more subversive snippity-snip-snip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The Piedra is fenced every friggin year. And oddly, usually in different places. High water (1500cfs and up) generally rips them out but in low water years they are a huge danger. It’s a beautiful, mellow 18 mile float with a nice take out ramp. Put in is a bit sketchy though especially for bigger boats.
 

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Probably did the rancher a favor (though doubt he would see it that way). Easier to round up a few cows than settle a multi-million dollar lawsuit when someone dies. There are ways to "fence" a stream without creating a life threatening hazard. This is not about keeping cattle in, it's about asserting non-existent property rights.
 

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Same issue on the Conejos below Platoro. Although I'd heard things got a bit better there after the local sh!theels the landowners having do this were caught in the process and politely asked to rely the message that continuation might spark escalating visits from the Monkey Wrench Gang.
 

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Navigable waterways. You don't own em. You own the property on either side.

Is that a state to state thing or federal law?
It's a state to state thing. Sadly, in Colorado the waterways are only considered "navigable" if they were used for commerce at the time of statehood. Landowners can own the riverbed and banks on each side, and if you touch the bed as you're floating through their land, you can be prosecuted for trespassing. There's no "up to the high water mark" access in CO, unfortunately.
 

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It's a state to state thing. Sadly, in Colorado the waterways are only considered "navigable" if they were used for commerce at the time of statehood. Landowners can own the riverbed and banks on each side, and if you touch the bed as you're floating through their land, you can be prosecuted for trespassing. There's no "up to the high water mark" access in CO, unfortunately.
Gotcha. I remember ducking some barbed wire on Bailey back in the day. I always assumed what the landowners were doing was illegal, but it sounds like maybe not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That’s one of the things that the guys lawsuit on the Arkansas river may change. There was a earlier thread about it. My opinion is that most of the rivers in the state were used for commerce intermittently at the time of statehood as it was the easiest way to move stuff. Pelts,
logs etc. if a mountain man put a canoe on the river that friggin qualifies. Tragically, I think the only thing that will make change one way or the other is a fatality/fatalities. Totally could have happened on the Piedra to me and my crew couple of years back. Top wire was submerged and making a odd noise but barely visible. Lead boat didn’t realize what was up until he was on it, raft dump trucked up stream. How those two guys didn’t get hung up on the wires still puzzles me to this day. If one or both got hung up they are getting thrashed mid stream in 40 ish water. I now have about two minutes to get these people to shore and I am hanging onto a fistful of willow branches almost into the fence myself. Thank whatever they didn’t get hung up and tried to swim the boat to river left and almost got there but both wisely bailed and got out themselves as they were fading. Someone could easily have died. Thankfully there was a bridge right there (it’s the first one you come to kinda a rickety looking suspension green thing shortly after the old church) and the boys rested a bit walked over the bridge and got the wire cutters from me ( I’m still clinging to willows) cut the fence and off we went. Got the raft back a couple of days later after a fellow buzzard (thanks again) GPS pinned it for us. All’s well that ends well right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The fence went completely down stream to riverleft in the above instance. I wasn’t there yesterday so I can‘t say what happened. And no we didn’t levitate Spencer. You can really be a sanctimonious son of a gun sometimes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Spencer, they don’t own the river. The solution seems to me is to have a conversation with the land owner. But that takes time and effort. I have talked with Jan and Dennis (formerly stitches and stuff) who live a short distance down stream in Arboles and they have tried for years to get landowners along the Piedra to pull the fences in the early spring and have even volunteered to help create a removable fence section (what I personably call a 3rd world gate) and do the labor and no takers and hostile/ambivalent response. What do you think is the solution Spencer cause the current situation sucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
And, some one is eventually gonna get killed. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to see anyone die flopping on a arguably illegal barbed wire fence in the middle of a river.
 

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It’s still private property. Trespassing is illegal, regardless of how much you feel you are helping others.
Curious what you would have done it that situation. Your legally floating down a section of river you have every right to be on and encounter a river wide barbed wire fence. The way I see it you have three options at that point, trespass and go over the fence, trespass and cut out the illegal fence so no one coming behind has to trespass or last option except your fate that this is the day you die because you have the higher morals and won’t trespass to save your life. Not much of a decision in my mind but to each their own.
 
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