River Access Dispute Task Force meeting recap

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From The Mountain Mail (Audrey Gilpin):

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area was presented as a “success story,” with park manager Rob White highlighting the citizens task force and river management plan as a way of monitoring river use and mitigating disputes among landowners, non-commercial boaters and private boaters. Comprised of anglers, private and commercial boaters, water users, environmental interests, property owners and local government representatives, White said the Arkansas headwaters task force creates a “communication tool” and management of the Arkansas River that’s “all about compromise,” White said…

The long-standing dispute about whether a “right to float” in Colorado exists or ought to exist, however, is not what the task force was charged to decipher. Mike King, deputy director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, said the task force is trying to find adequate processes and tools to mitigate disputes. Arkansas River Canyon landowner Tim Canterbury said he’d “hate” to see any standard go statewide. “We have a unique situation on the Arkansas River. Can you legislate respect?” he said…

Task force members will attempt to find “solutions” in dealing with problems identified during the meeting including criminal trespass, obstructions in the river such as diversions, fences and structures; issues with commercial and non-commercial boaters, volume of boaters and impact to natural resources. The Governor’s group will meet from 1-5 p.m. Oct. 13 in Glenwood Springs followed by a public input meeting from 5-7 p.m. The task force is to submit a final report to the governor no later than Dec. 31, identifying a framework for a “dispute resolution process for conflicts between rafters and landowners.”

More whitewater coverage here.

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