Posted: 11/14/2001
By: Jason Robertson

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  • Colorado Access Fund Established American Whitewater has established a fund dedicated to protecting your public rights to access Colorado's rivers. Please make a contribution and help defend your fellow boaters' rights and priveliges!
    • Court Deals Minor Setback in Lake Fork Suit Court ruling does not allow attempts to use criminal trespass law to determine civil trespass. Boaters reaffirm private property rights. The suit moves to court in Fall 2002 (Posted 12/11/2001).
    • RIght to Float Court Case Gains Support Court allows American Whitewater and Colorado White Water Association to intervene in Lake Fork Gunnison case. Colorado River Outfitters Association and America Outdoors file amicus brief (Posted 11/30/2001).
    • River Access in Colorado Under Siege! Abridged background on recent access threats throughout the state (Posted 8/23/2001).
    • American Whitewater Wins First Round of Legal Battles American Whitewater's motion to intervene in the "trespass" lawsuit filed on the Lake Fork Gunnison was approved by the court (Posted 9/12/2001).
    • Right to Float Rally The Colorado River Outfitter's Association, Gunnison Basin Outfitters and American Whitewater organized a rally on the Lake Fork of the Gunnison the morning of June 15th, 2001 (Posted 6/12/2001).
    • Private Boater Access Threatened on Arkansas River American Whitewater's comments on Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Management Plan Revision (Posted 10/24/2000)
    • Statewide Listing of Whitewater Rivers American Whitewater's Inventory of Colorado's whitewater rivers (Updated frequently by our StreamKeepers).
    • Statewide Listing of CO Streamgage Levels.

      Q1) If all the current Right to Float battles in Colorado are won by your group, how would you resolve the issue of landowners who have land deeds from the state that say their property includes the area of the river? Should they be compensated by the state since in reality some of their property would be condemned if it were to be considered a public highway?

      A1) Historically, the use of surface waters is protected under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution since rivers are highways and thereby subject to commerce. This right precedes the land grants and private property rights. Therefore the issue is moot.

      Q2) Do you have any information about the impact on the floating industry in the state if your group loses the current legal battles that are in court?

      A2) If commercial rafting is denied access to the Lake Fork Gunnison, this could potentially have ramifications throughout the State. Much depends on the level of the Court that rules on the subject, the precedential value, and the nature of the Court's decision. The Colorado Rivers Outfitters Association (CROA) is taking an active interest in this aspect of defending the public's navigability rights and priveliges.

      Q3) Is there a compromise with the trouble landowners that you would consider "good for everyone"?

      A3) A reasonable compromise would be to recognize that floating on the waterways is a right held under the public trust, and to allow incidental contact with the beds and banks. At present the issue of "floating" is not a matter of review. That right has been affirmed. The problem is with physically touching the streambed and banks. "Contact" is the operative context of the issue. On the Lake Fork Gunnison the owners claim a harm from these contacts that they believe justifies their suit. We are in essence arguing that this claim is contrary to the public's interests which are vested in the State under the public trust. The compromise would simply address the question of what levels of terrestrial contact are permissable.

      American Whitewater Contacts

      American Whitewater Jason Robertson
      1430 Fenwick Lane
      Silver Spring, MD 20910
      301-589-6121 (fax)

      Cannibal Outdoors
      Media Relations
      Lisa Jones
      Johnson Communications

      CROA Andy Neinas
      CROA Chairman
      P.O Box 1662
      Buena Vista, CO 81211
  • Jason D. Robertson

    635 Joseph Cir

    Golden, CO 80403-2349

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