Our View: River campaign laudable


Editorial Board, June 2009 to September 2009

  • Suzanne Schlicht, general manager
  • Brent Boyer, editor
  • Mike Lawrence, city editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Grant Fenton, community representative
  • Paul Strong, community representative

Contact the editorial board at (970) 871-4221 or editor@steamboatpilot.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

We support and praise the Respect the Yampa campaign recently launched in Steamboat Springs and encourage all river users to act safely and responsibly on the water.

This weekend brought the first Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Farmers Market and the first Triple Crown event of the summer to Steamboat Springs - two signs of the season that also mean residents and visitors are eager to enjoy the valley's most valuable resource. Kayakers, boaters and anglers have been on the river for weeks, taking advantage of strong runoff fueled by recent rains.

But all that runoff means the water still is churning fast and cold - the Yampa is first and foremost a wild river, and the fast-flowing water should remind all to use the proper safety equipment, such as life jackets and helmets, on the water.

As of Saturday afternoon, the Yampa was flowing at more than 1,600 cubic feet per second past the Fifth Street Bridge in downtown Steamboat Springs. Although that's below the historical June 13 average of about 2,000 cfs, it's still well above the 700 cfs that is often used as a guideline for the beginning of local tubing season.

As more recreational users take to the water, there are common sense steps - such as not littering - we all can take as stewards of our local river and waterways.

"Litter, to me, is the overwhelming detriment to the river, and the things that encourage litter are alcohol use, and people going down the river, and they don't really know any better," Peter Van De Carr, owner of Backdoor Sports and member of the Respect the Yampa campaign, said last week. "They don't know you can't take litter on the river because chances are very good you're going to get upset, and you're going to get dumped over" and spill trash.

Members of the Respect the Yampa campaign are distributing fliers to sellers of tubes in an attempt to urge tubers to follow river regulations.

We understand that Colorado law allows public floating of rivers, provided there is no trespassing to access the water and users don't touch the bottom, and that as a result the free use of rivers is a controversial issue.

But we appreciate Respect the Yampa's efforts to encourage stewardship of the river and urge all river users to familiarize themselves with regulations outlined by the Steamboat Springs Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department and by the 2004 Yampa River Management Plan.

The 2004 plan calls for no tubing access upstream of Fetcher Park and no access at River Creek Park or Rotary Park.

Tubers may park vehicles in the limited spaces at Fetcher Park to put in downstream or at Howelsen Hill. For pickup, tubers are encouraged to park at the Stock Bridge Transit Center.

It is up to all of us to protect and preserve our river, which is an incredible draw and resource for locals and visitors. Common sense steps such as eliminating your trash on the river and respecting everyone's right to the water can go a long way toward making the Yampa River an enjoyable resource for all.


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