HB 10-1188

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From the Aspen Daily News (Andrew Travers):

“Most of us are not currently threatened by this,” [Bob Harris — founder of Blazing Adventures] said. “But we could see conflicts maybe coming down the road. We know that if we don’t support those guys now, then it could be us one day.”[…]

[Colorado River Outfitters Association (CROA)] campaign for the so-called “River Outfitters Viability Act” pits Colorado’s homegrown river rats against well heeled developers from elsewhere: “The ability to provide commercial river running is under serious threat because out-of-state landowners using their wealth want to prohibit licensed outfitters from providing trips on historically rafted rivers,” their campaign fact sheet states.

Gunnison-based water attorney John Hill scoffed at CROA’s emphasis on out-of-state landowners. “What does it matter if they’re from out of state or not? They still have the same constitutional rights,” Hill said Monday, arguing that the proposed act represents a violation of the Fifth Amendment, which protects private landowners from having their property taken for public use.

Hill further argues that the right to navigate across rivers running through private property — commonly called the “right to float” — is a fallacy. He cites a 31-year-old criminal case decided by the Colorado Supreme Court in which a man was convicted of trespassing for tubing through private land on the Colorado River. The highest court in the state ruled “the public has no right to the use of waters overlying private lands for recreational purposes without the consent of the owner.” “There isn’t any right to float in Colorado,” Hill said. “That’s folklore.”

More 2010 Colorado legislation coverage here.

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