Steamboat Springs Tubers and river users caught breaking rules will face the consequences as law enforcement officers crack down on violators.
Following a Fourth of July weekend that saw an unexpectedly high number of tubers on the Yampa River, Craig Robinson, open space and trail supervisor for the city of Steamboat Springs, said police officers are actively ticketing violators who disregard the rules.
"The DOW and private fishermen have asked us to start ticketing," Robinson said Thursday, due to concerns about the welfare of the river.
Jim Haskins, area wildlife supervisor for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, adds that the DOW has also received numerous complaints from fishermen about not being able to fish on the river in the city.
"We've been having discussions with the city for over a year about the inability for fishermen to get on the river in the city," Haskins said. The river is a world-class fishery, Haskins said, and fishermen are frustrated that they can't find parking or a spot to fish because there are so many tubers.
"It's getting out of hand," Haskins said. "The two uses just aren't compatible anymore because of the sheer volume of tubers." He said there were many problems last weekend with litter, alcohol use and tubers who were "rowdy and rude."
Robinson said that parking regulations also are being enforced, such as the two-hour parking limit in the Rotary Park parking lot on Mount Werner Road and cars parked in no-parking zones. He said additional signs have been posted indicating where parking is not allowed along Mount Werner Road.
According to a news release from city officials, other rules include: no glass, no littering, no Styrofoam coolers, no dogs, no nudity and no alcohol. Respect for other river users and private property is required and river users are to avoid standing and walking on the riverbed.
Furthermore, city officials are requesting that tubers abide by the recommendations of the Yampa River Management Plan and put in the Yampa River at or below Fetcher Park, located off Pine Grove Road west of U.S. Highway 40, and not float past the Stock Bridge Transit Center. A citizen's advisory committee created the management plan, which was adopted by Steamboat Springs City Council in 2004 to protect the natural values of the river, according to the news release.
Haskins said management plan recommendations have "largely been ignored" and it's time to revisit the plan to "further delineate what each portion of the river should be used for."