Volunteer of the Month - Presented by Kokatat
Bailey, Colorado - American Whitewater is pleased to recognize Ian Foley as this months Volunteer
of the Month. Ian is well known as the lead organizer for Bailey Fest, and this year he
accomplished a major milestone in improving public safety and access along the the North Fork of
the South Platte River. Thanks to Ian's efforts, all the major rapids and the main canyon of
Bailey are safe from the threat of private landowners shutting down river access or harrassing
paddlers looking to safely portage and scout Four Falls.
In response to landowner threats and harrassment, Ian took the initiative to compare GPS coordinates at Four Falls to private property records from Park County. The Park County maps showed two separate township lines, whcih confuse the property boundary. One line indicated that Four Falls was on private land, while the other line was a little to the south and would mean four falls was public. Ian connected with Park County to see which line was the legal line. Ian soon learned that Park County uses BLM maps to determine property ownership.
The detailed BLM Survey Records were from an original survey done around 1860-1870 to set the township line. There were errors in the original survey when laying the north line due to not being able to find the exact corner from the adjoining township. This survey was used for the property transactions around four falls in the late 1800s, and the landowners would have thought they owned all of four falls. The error of the township corner was fixed in a resurvey done in the 1990's and the result was that the north township line shifted south by a couple hundred feet.
Ian contacted the US Forest Service district ranger who sent the BLM Cadastral survey group a request to research the boundary issue. The survey was completed July 10th, 2013 and found that Four Falls is in fact on USFS administered lands. The forest service informed the neighbors of the change to their property line.
Ians persistence has helped resolve a paddler-landowner conflict that had started to burn out of control, particularly during Bailey Fest. This years event promises to be a celebration of the River, and of the good work Ian continues to put into making one of Denvers best backyard runs, safe and accessible.