HB 10-1188 — Clarify River Outfitter Navigation Right passes out of committee

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From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Charles Ashby):

[Texas developer, Lewis Shaw], who plans to build ranch estates along the river, told the House Judiciary Committee he gave the rafters a year’s notice. “This is a case of, ‘Do good fences make good neighbors?’ ” he said. “We have enjoyed being very good neighbors, but I think I’d like a good fence, too.” But the committee said that proverbial fence is meant to keep people out of private property. Water flows in rivers owned by the public. It approved the bill 7-3…

A 1979 Colorado Supreme Court decision in People v. Emmert said rafters who touch the bank or riverbed are considered criminal trespassers, but subsequent laws changed that to a civil charge. The civil trespassing question has never been tested in court but came close when a Gunnison County landowner along the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River sued an outfitter that had been rafting a section of river for decades. The case, however, never made it to trial because the rafting company eventually sold its assets and went out of business, which sent ripple effects throughout the rafting community, said Lori Potter, an attorney for the Colorado River Outfitters Association.

“There is no taking of property,” she said. “There is no taking … because it (predates) the property rights.”

More 2010 Colorado legislation coverage here.

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