Author: Trout's Staff
In a huge step forward for the states recreational boating community, the Colorado state senate passed a revised House Bill 1188 last Monday night, paving the way for the a ultimate resolution to the age old question of who ultimately owns our states rivers. For those of you not up to speed on this legislation, House Bill 1188 addresses the issue of whether commercial and recreational boaters have the right to float through private property without fear of civil prosecution. If passed, the bill would make it legal or commercial and recreational (private) boaters to pass through private property so long as they do not touch the river bottom or banks. In addition, it would allow boaters to navigate (portage) around hazardous obstacles that may pose a safety risk, without the risk of civil prosecution.
But haven’t boaters (commercial and private) always been allowed to float through private property?
The answer is yes, that is until now. This particular bill was conceived as a result of a civil lawsuit filed by a private land owner Wilder on the Taylor, who was attempting to bar access to their property by Scenic River Tours, a commercial rafting company. (click here to see a letter from the land owner to the rafting company) The land owner has claimed that by floating through their property, the raft company was trespassing on their land.