Q. Why is the city pushing commercial tubing downriver to an area below Fifth Street?
A. A dedicated and active group of volunteers has spent the last three years developing policy and procedures involving commercial tubing on this reach of the Yampa River. This includes the Rivers and Trails Committee, tubing, kayaking and fishing user groups both private and commercial, along with several members of City Council. Although the decision to move only commercial tubing below Fifth Street was not a unanimous decision by this group, it was arrived at via consensus. This one-season trial will allow numerous questions to be answered through continued community review, study, analysis and ultimately policy establishment.
Q. Why is the focus on commercial tubing and not on other river users, including private tubers?
A. Commercial tubing is by far the largest and most visible user group to administer on this reach of the Yampa River. Community awareness and concern for the Yampa River rose as the numbers increased. Multiple-user conflicts led to an ordinance that speaks to all commercial outfitters operating on this public property. Continued conflict has led to a trial season of moving the largest user group (commercial tubing) to an alternate location so that the community can evaluate the effects of this change.
Q. How will the move downriver impact residents who live along the river below Fifth Street, including those people in the Dream Island trailer park? How will the city address their concerns?
A. Many recreational and other changes are occurring in our community in general. The Dream Island neighborhood has trail work, river modifications, park, playground and transit development being planned for this summer.
To discuss what the impacts of these changes may be, including river issues and how the community can best address those impacts, the city is hosting a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15 at Olympian Hall. I am looking forward to the challenges and solutions we will all come up with at that time.
Q. What will the Yampa River Management Plan entail?
A. The overall goal of the planning effort is to establish the physical, biological, chemical and policy issues of the four-mile section of river from the Walton Creek/Yampa River confluence to the Stockbridge Center. Comprehensive information collection shall include recreational users' needs, resource concerns and establishing a baseline for future impact resolution.
Q. What is the city doing to modify the river below 13th Street? For whom are those changes being made?
A. The project involves assessing the river's current stability and characteristics and adding boulder modifications which work with natural channel processes while achieving the desired effects for improved recreation.
Three user groups (tubing, kayaking and fishing) have worked with the Rivers and Trails Committee regarding how each group utilizes the river and their perspective of existing and desired boulder modifications for this project. All will have input on final recommendations/actions.
Q. Do the effects of multiple use put the city in jeopardy of losing grant money Steamboat Springs has received to improve the river?
A. Multiple use in and of itself does not put the city in jeopardy of losing grant money it has received. Violation of the terms and conditions of any of the grants received by the city could in many cases require the city to cure or resolve the breach or return the grant funds.