Senator Hudak, Vote NO on HB 1188


6 responses to this post.

  1. Dear Senator Hudak, my name is Tom Verquer ,Landowner Rancher CFB Board member from Trinidad ,CO. I am asking you to vote NO on H.B. 1188. This bill essentially results in a taking of personal property rights in the state of CO. I also am on the Arkansas River Roundtable. The people vs Emmert case Supreme Court ruling states that one must ask the permission from landowners to raft on rivers going through their property. I still believe in this concept as do all landowners of the state.
    I visited wtih members of the Mid Mtn and the Fremont-Custer county Farm Bureau organizations last week , those members said that there is at the present time amutual Cooperation and Respect between landowners and commercial rafters. I see no reason at all to have to pass a law such as being proposed by H,B.1188. thank you for your consideration of my thoughts. Tom Verquer


  2. For reference, I am a wade fisher and flyfishing guide (NOT a float guide!) on the Arkansas River. I have lived in Colorado all my life and value our rivers and streams more than you can imagine. I fully support HB1188. I lived in Weld County for 30 years and here in Chaffee County ranch land for a decade. I know the farm and ranch community. Ranchers are my neighbors and friends. Sad to say, you are being used for others’ personal and financial agendas.

    The ads opposing HB1188 (River Outfitters Viability Act) before our state Senate are full of lies. At best, they display a gross misunderstanding of what this law says. The bill simply adds clarification to current law on right to float. It protects outfitters and guides from both criminal and civil trespass, providing reasonable agreements of practice such as allowing incidental contact with the bed or banks of the river. It is essentially a house-cleaning bill. No one is asking for a “government handout.”

    HB1188 only applies to historically navigated rivers under controlled conditions of commercial use, and only to licensed outfitters. Passage of this bill doesn’t mean, for example, you are suddenly going to have a passel of yahoos on their inner tubes splashing through your ranch on the Middle Fork of the Any River.

    Ranchers and farmers, this proposed law does NOT diminish your landowner rights. It only sets up reasonable, cooperative actions between you and those who make their living floating the public water surface through your land. It does not “pad their (rafter’s) pockets,” it does not “trample on your rights,” nothing is taken or done “at your expense.”

    In fact, the commercial rafters are your best friends. Part of their job is to respect your private property rights. By practice and example, they teach their clients to do so as well. If you are a rancher or farmer who is against this, you are fighting the wrong battle against a misidentified foe.

    Colorado’s river outfitters are not “a special interest group.” They comprise a viable state industry, bringing millions of dollars into state and local economies. Collateral dollars spent on lodging, restaurants and additional activities during visitors’ stays add hundreds of millions more. These river businesses are the backbone of the economy in many of our mountain counties and towns.

    There is nothing to be gained by defeating this bill, but passing it is a win-win for land owners, river outfitters, everyone dependent on related tourist and recreation industry for their living, and the coffers of our state and local economies.


    • Posted by Shawn Martini on March 8, 2010 at 6:58 pm

      Mr. Neville,

      thank you for your thoughts on HB 1188, however I must disagree. If one analyzes the potential impacts of HB 1188, beyond a cursory reading of the text, it is clear that it sets up a state imposed ‘taking’ of property rights. It does, in fact, diminish landowners property rights by denying them the fundamental right to restrict access. How this is, in your words, “reasonable” is beyond me. It is certainly reasonable to the rafter, who stand to gain from this bill, but it is certainly not reasonable to landowners, who have had no stake in the drafting of the legislation or even in the language.

      The rafting community is obviously asking for a handout. Not happy with the current system of rafters and landowners working together toward “reasonable” access to streams (as has been going on for 30 years), they now want the legislature to guarantee them the right to trespass on private land without any input from the landowner. I’m not sure how that is “reasonable?”

      Moreover, if the commercial rafting community were flush with respect over property rights as you claim, why would they ask for a bill that allows them to make money using land they don’t own, with no compensation to the landowner? How is that “reasonable”?


  3. Posted by P Horton on March 8, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    What Senate bill are you reading anyway? In HB1188 there is nothing that even comes close to permitting anyone to pull over and picnic on your front lawn.

    Farmers, someone somewhere is selling you a bill of goods – or “bads”. Every ad I’ve seen bearing yours and other ag group names is full of the same kind of lies and misleading insinuations. The restrictions on this bill are very tight, very defined, and protect both the outfitter guide and the land owner. The opposition is turning this into some huge monster that does not even exist. Who are they? What is their real agenda? They are using you to achieve it.


    • Posted by Shawn Martini on March 8, 2010 at 6:52 pm

      P Horton,

      It may be news to you, but the ag community is full of smart well educated people who are not in any way ‘gullible’ or easily swayed by some unnamed “opposition.” We are more than capable of analyzing public policy beyond more than a cursory reading of proposed language. We are also smart enough to know that all the promises of legislative intent have a way of becoming lost when policy is implemented.

      As written, HB 1188 does nothing to protect the rights of landowners, and in fact takes their rights away. Like many rights, property rights (specifically the right to restrict access) are a zero sum game. If the rafters have more, landowners have less. HB 1188 sets up what is known as a ‘taking’ of property rights by granting rafters the right to portage around obstacles and in doing so, trespass on private land without the landowners consent. This is akin to someone driving across you front lawn because something is blocking the street in front of your home.

      I appreciate your differing opinion when it comes to the merits of this bill, but dont insinuate that the ag community is stupid to know when they are being used. We are in fact very capable of coming to our own conclusions and (surprisingly to you I’m sure) decided to oppose this measure ourselves.


  4. Posted by Duke Bradford on March 9, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Myths and Truths about HB 1188, River Outfitters Viability Act
    Keep Colorado Rivers Open for Business
    MYTH: Commercial Raft Trips “Takes” Private Property Rights, causing a taking

    TRUTH: HB 1188 Does Not Take Property Rights. The right to navigate America’s and Colorado’s rivers existed before
    statehood in 1876 and before private property rights were acknowledged by the territorial government or the state. It
    has been long established that you could use a river like a highway. If you needed to walk around an object to continue
    your downstream travel, you could. This is called an easement or servitude. When land was sold along a stream, the
    right of easement went with the sale of the property. Everyone who has bought property along a river has bought the
    property with this easement attached (conveniently forgotten by some). It is not a taking of property rights to assert
    the public’s right. It is a taking of the public’s right to prevent their legal privilege to float.

    To be more technical, this right of navigation is referred to as an easement or servitude on the property underlying or
    adjacent to a river; the property owner – sometimes referred to as the “riparian owner” — holds title, but holds title
    subject to that servitude or easement. Many states have already examined the takings argument and have decided that
    the right of navigation does not cause a taking of adjacent or underlying property
    MYTH: Any one in a boat, tube or anything can float down any waterway, stream, ditch etc. in Colorado if 1188
    TRUTH: The bill clearly states that the law will pertain to COMMERCIAL RAFTING only and as it has existed for some
    time now. There are no new commercial rafting sections permitted by this bill. Simply stated, commercial outfitters
    want to be allowed to do what they have always been allowed to do. The focus of the bill is for statewide
    clarification of the rafting sections so as to prevent other future regional disputes.
    MYTH: The legislation is trying to address one local problem in Gunnison County, and it doesn’t impact the rest of the
    TRUTH: This is more than just one local problem in Gunnison County. There have been a number of places were the
    waters were claimed to be private waters. Individuals over time have tried to claim the public’s waters as private
    fishing preserves, etc. and prevent passage. The issue cannot be dealt with one issue at a time. It needs to be
    clarified state wide to protect the public’s constitutional right to their waters. Some have advocated that the issue
    should be settled in the courts. Some of these same individuals would then call the judge an “activist judge making
    law“ if the ruling was not to their liking. You can’t have it both ways. This is a legislative issue and should be
    resolved with the legislature for all Coloradoans.
    MYTH: HB 1188 hurts Agriculture producers and operations.
    Truth: The bill does not harm agriculture or other industries. River outfitters will run the same stretches of rivers
    that they have run historically. The bill provides clear clarification for historical runs. It does not create new runs.
    Some individuals have claimed the bill will allow people to enter your garage, walk through your lawn, turn loose
    your cattle, etc. This is not the case. The bill does not sanction people to trespass or cause damage. It does reassert
    the public’s right of easement when navigating rivers. Some in agriculture have been misled to think that this bill
    will allow for picnicing, sunbathing, etc. along the river on private land. It does not. It simply allows individuals to
    move around obstacles to continue passage upon the river. Anything more is clearly trespassing.
    MYTH: We don’t need this bill – river outfitting businesses can just ask permission to float rivers that cross or go by
    private land? Right?

    TRUTH: The streams of Colorado belong to the public. It is clearly stated in Colorado’s constitution. River outfitters
    and every citizen and visitor have the right to enjoy Colorado’s waters and should not have to ask anyone to keep
    their constitutional right. If a person buys a house with a public sidewalk in front of the house, the person cannot tell
    the public that they cannot walk on the sidewalk even if the house owner purchased the land on each side. You
    cannot buy property on both sides of Interstate 25 and then claim the area as your private preserve and demand that
    you be compensated if the public is allowed to pass through. If you built a bridge over the interstate and built it so
    low others could not travel under it, you cannot later say you were in the right and that the public has no right to
    walk around your bridge. In reality, building bridges will not happen on interstate highways but it has happened on
    the public’s river highways.
    MYTH: HB 1188 allows the right to trespass across private property without the landowners’ permission.
    TRUTH: The bill does not allow individuals to walk across private property. It does allow the public to exercise its
    right of easement to walk around objects like bridges that block a floater’s path. There are very, very few places that
    commercial outfitters walk around. Customers pay to raft not to hike so it is in the outfitter’s interest to keep people
    in a raft and moving downstream.
    MYTH: HB 1188 would overturn decades of case law and statutes that have served Colorado.

    TRUTH: The legislature of Colorado has not really ever addressed this issue. If fact, the issue has been skirted for
    some time, especially since the late 70’s. Some have claimed that there is case law that stipulates that the public
    does not have a right to float. This is not accurate. Those that argue such are simply misrepresenting the law. A
    reading of Colorado’s constitution will clearly show that the streams and waters belong to the public not to a private
    landowner. That has not been constitutionally changed. We encourage you to protect your constitutional right.

    The Texas Developer Shaw and his hired attorneys (Bratton and Hill) are using you to privatize rivers for their own financial gain.


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