HB 10-1188

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From The Mountain Mail (Audrey Gilpin):

Rep. Kathleen Curry of Gunnison and Sen. Mary Hodge of Brighton are sponsoring the bill as the Colorado Outfitters Viability Act [HB 10-1188: Ltd Liab Water Right Recreation Purposes] …

Bob Hamel, chairman of Colorado River Outfitters Association and owner of Arkansas River Tours in Salida, said the bill stems from an out-of-state land owner threatening legal action against commercial river outfitters using a stretch of the Taylor River near Gunnison. The landowner, Hamel said, told outfitters he would issue a 2009 permit to run the portion of river through his property if guides agreed not to run the stretch during the 2010 season. “He didn’t have authority to permit outfitters, and guides came to us (Colorado River Outfitters Association) about the issue,” Hamel said. Guides have run the Taylor River about 20-30 years and portaged (carried rafts on shore) around a low bridge on that part of the river, Hamel said…

The proposed bill would allow licensed outfitters to not only operate on historically run rivers crossing private property, but to make contact with the riverbank and portage around hazards which could put passengers at risk. Landowners would also be protected by the proposed bill, Hamel explained, because they wouldn’t be liable if a boater or angler is injured portaging or during incidental contact on their property while on a commercial river trip. Historically run rivers in Colorado are not identified in the bill. However, Hamel said there’s 20-30 years of documentation to identify the commercially run rivers.

More 2010 Colorado legislation coverage here.

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