Jackson-Shaw Grants Taylor River Rafting Companies Permission To Float

Jackson-Shaw, owner of the Wilder on the Taylor fishing reserve, announced today that it is granting the two Taylor River rafting companies, Three Rivers Outfitting and Scenic River Tours, permission to float through its property this summer.

Conflicts between fishermen and commercial rafting on the Taylor River gave rise earlier this year to Colorado House Bill 1188, which died at the end of the legislative session this week.

Jackson-Shaw Chairman and CEO Lewis Shaw said, “While mediation between Jackson-Shaw and the two Taylor River rafting companies continues, Jackson-Shaw recognizes that Three Rivers and Scenic are at the threshold of their commercial rafting season and that it will take time to finalize any formal agreement.  Accordingly, as a show of good faith, Jackson-Shaw has decided to give Three Rivers and Scenic permission to float through Wilder on the Taylor this summer.”

Shaw added, “Jackson-Shaw is still hopeful that the mediation process will result in a formal agreement among the parties.”

Mediation between the two rafting companies and Jackson-Shaw began on April 22 and remains ongoing.  All parties have agreed that the content of the mediation must remain confidential.

Due to differences in the parties’ and mediator’s availability, a second mediation session could not be scheduled at the Judicial Arbiter Group in Denver until May 26.

Shaw said that he hoped this permission would minimize disruption to the rafting companies’ business and allow Three Rivers and Scenic to keep commitments they have already made to guests and employees for the upcoming summer.

To balance the commercial rafting with fly fishing by guests of Jackson-Shaw and Harmel’s Ranch Resort and to protect the hundreds of thousands of dollars in fish habitat improvements Jackson-Shaw has made, Jackson-Shaw will require Scenic and Three Rivers to abide by six simple rules this summer:

1.      Commercial rafting will be allowed through Wilder on the Taylor between May 15, 2010 and August 15, 2010, provided there is adequate water in the river (at least 200 cubic feet per second of water at the United States Geological Survey gauge below the Taylor River Dam). Based on average flows over the past 34 years, this threshold requirement would be satisfied for the entire duration of the above season.

2.      A total of four commercial rafting trips will be allowed through the property each day. Three Rivers and Scenic may allocate these trips between themselves in whatever manner they please. Two trips will be permitted in the morning, and two trips will be permitted in the afternoon.  Each trip may include up to four boats. A boat can hold up to 8 guests, so the 16 boats per day limit would allow for 128 guests to go down this section of the Taylor each day.

3.      To preserve early morning, evening, and lunch time fishing, the morning trips will need to occur between 9:30 and 11 a.m., and the afternoon trips need to occur between 1:30 and 3 p.m.  Jackson-Shaw believes that these time windows complement the launch times identified in the rafting companies’ Forest Service Permits.

4.      Jackson-Shaw will allow the rafting companies and their guests to portage around the bridge on the property.  Jackson-Shaw just asks that the companies and their guests be respectful when portaging and floating through the property.

5.      The rafting companies and their guests will not be permitted to fish through the property because preserving the exclusive fishing for Jackson-Shaw’s guests is essential to protecting Jackson-Shaw’s investment in habitat improvements.

6.      Three Rivers and Scenic will need to add Jackson-Shaw as an additional insured on their insurance policies to protect Jackson-Shaw from liability in the event one of the rafting companies’ guests is injured.

“We believe that these rules are reasonable and will allow the rafting companies to meet demand, operate profitable businesses, and conduct far more commercial trips through the property this summer than last summer,” Shaw said.

This proposal will easily accommodate the maximum number of trips allowed by their Forest Service permits.  At the allowable rate of 128 guests per day, the commercial rafting companies would surpass the number of guests taken through this stretch of river in 2009 in less than 8 days. They would surpass the maximum number of guests allowed under their Forest Service permits in 34 days.

Also, the rafting companies can and do conduct a significant number of Upper Taylor and Lower Taylor trips without passing through the property. It has been reported that Three Rivers took less than one percent of its Taylor River guests through the property in 2009.

“So long as Three Rivers and Scenic are willing to accept Jackson-Shaw’s permission and follow these simple terms, Jackson-Shaw will allow the rafting companies to conduct rafting trips through the property this summer,” Shaw added. “Acceptance by these two rafting companies of these terms will not prevent mediation from continuing. However, it will give the two companies some certainty as the rafting season begins.”


One response to this post.

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