Roger Wilson for Colorado
House District 61

Recreational Access to Water in Colorado

Our tourist economy depends on public access to the surface of Colorado rivers and streams for the purpose of recreation. That includes rafting, kayaking, and fishing. People thinking of visiting Colorado should not doubt that they are welcome to responsibly enjoy our magnificent waterways.

As your representative I support legislation with the following provisions:

  • Both individuals and outfitter companies have a right to the surface of Colorado waterways.
  • Incidental touching of private property along the sides or bottom of waterways by individuals or by a conveyance engaged in the act of navigation on the waterway surface shall not be cause for trespassing. This may be modeled like a boundary between public roads and private property.
  • Landowners with private property rights on either or both sides of a waterway cannot erect bridges or other projects over the waterway surface or modify the sides or bottoms of the waterway in such a way that navigation by any water conveyance is additionally impeded. A process for exceptions for safety or in the public interest may be needed but the process should always require stakeholder involvement.
  • Access to waterways from private land, portaging, and emergency evacuation remains to be discussed between stakeholders and may not be resolved initially.

I would like to see the first three items defined in Colorado statute. I believe it would set a foundation for resolution of the remaining issues. After entering office in January 2011 I was asked by Colorado outfitters to hold off the introduction of new legislation and give the current agreements a chance to work. During the balance of 2011 I will meet with waterway users and landowners.


© 2010, 2011 Committee to Elect Roger Wilson