Tuesday, February 19, 2002
Steamboat Springs Don Woodsmith is tired of tubers floating by his house and making obscene gestures. City regulations forced tubing companies to operate on the lower stretch of the Yampa River last summer, meaning every day tubers floated by the trailer park where Woodsmith lives.
"It's a traffic jam," Woodsmith said. "It's just a general calamity."
The City Council voted 5-1 Tuesday night on first reading to extend the controversial ban on commercial tubing above Fifth Street for two more years. The ban is meant to decrease conflicts among river-user groups.
The main opposition to the City Council's ordinance came not from tubing companies but from residents of Dream Island trailer park, where more tubers now float by than ever before more than 17,000 total commercial tubers for the summer of 2001.
Woodsmith has pictures of the tubers and presented them to the council. He feels the public process has not served him and wants the city to look at the effects of the new rules on the residents of the trailer park.
The city did hold meetings with Dream Island residents to determine their reaction, but Woodsmith says they were not well noticed. Open Space Supervisor Mike Neumann, however, said the city placed ads in the newspaper and posted notices on the doors of all of the trailers the day before and still only four residents showed up.
City Council President Kathy Connell said the issue of how the commercial tubing ban affects people who live in Dream Island should be considered when the council votes on the ordinance again.
Flyfishers felt the ban should have been extended in perpetuity, not just for two years.
"This has been going on for seven years now," said Bill Chase, an avid fly fisherman and river steward. "I think we need some closure."
No tubing company owner or representative spoke at the meeting.
The City Council decided on Feb. 20, 2001, to restrict commercial tubing on the river above Fifth Street for the summer and conduct a study of the river as well as make modifications to the lower Yampa.
The move was seen as a success by some city officials, and many tubing companies even claimed they had successful seasons.
The majority of the companies generally accept the regulations and are willing to deal with them for another two years, according to city staff and some tubing company owners.