City of Steamboat Springs and Colorado Division of Wildlife officials continue to grapple with issues related to summer tubing on the Yampa River. Both entities say additional regulations may not be necessary.

File photo

City of Steamboat Springs and Colorado Division of Wildlife officials continue to grapple with issues related to summer tubing on the Yampa River. Both entities say additional regulations may not be necessary.

City, DOW say additional tubing regulations may be unnecessary

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If you go

What: Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission meeting

When: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Steamboat Springs Community Center, 1605 Lincoln Ave.

Call: City Open Space Supervisor Craig Robinson at 879-4300, ext. 334, for more information.

The city of Steamboat Springs and the Colorado Division of Wildlife are shying away from additional regulations as they prepare to take their second look in as many months at tubing on the Yampa River.

A work session is scheduled Wednesday for the Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission to discuss strategies to address issues such as parking, litter and the prohibited consumption of alcohol on the river.

At a meeting of the commission last month, DOW officials presented a proposed ordinance that would prohibit tubers from entering the river from city property above the Fifth Street Bridge downtown. There was little enthusiasm, however, for such a strict regulation.

"Parks and Recreation Commission listened to the community members there and directed staff to put together some suggested alternatives based on all the good information we heard," said Chris Wilson, city director of Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services.

Those alternatives include increased educational and volunteer efforts, which Wilson dubbed the "Respect the Yampa River" initiative. Wilson said the city will look for volunteers to head up efforts to clean up trash and spend time at popular river access points to inform people about regulations pertaining to parking, alcohol and other issues.

"We'd love to see anybody that's interested : being part of the solution rather than part of the problem," Wilson said.

DOW Area Wildlife Manager Jim Haskins said he is supportive of the alternative suggestions but also said that he doesn't think the proposed ordinance is off the table. Haskins said that although parking, alcohol and trash are all valid issues, the main concern is that the DOW has spent millions of dollars improving the fishery on the town stretch of the Yampa River.

"We're trying to find a stretch of river where a fisherman can go down there any time of the day and fish," Haskins said. "If we can do things without regulation, that's great. We don't need more regulations, necessarily."

Wilson said the city hopes to try the alternatives first this summer and evaluate whether they were a success.

"If not, we can revisit additional regulation," Wilson said. "The ordinance is always out there. We can circle back."

Comments

JustSomeJoe 5 years ago

Shouldn't we start by enforcing the existing regulations on parking, alcohol and littering? I mainly use the river for fly fishing, but also use it a little bit for tubing as well. I can see both sides. I thought the activity on the river last year was pretty abusive and I'd like to see the city and DOW enforcing the existing regulations. The typical drinking, littering, enter the river where I want crowd is not going to listen to the new "respect the river" docents.

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Scott Ford 5 years ago

I recognize that the river is a shared asset and I am willing to share. I have and will continue to do my part. When I fish the Yampa River in town I abide by the City's rules. I leave my dog at home, I don't toss trash in the river and I wait until I get home to have my celebratory beer. In addition, I comply with the special fishing regulations that we all worked so diligent with the Colorado Division of Wildlife to put in place to protect and enhance the fishery.

We need to encourage the City to enforce existing regulations. I do not think this is too much to ask. The parking situation at Rotary Park last summer was an accident waiting to happen. All it will take is a young child who is excited to dash between vehicles into on coming traffic. In an instant someone's Steamboat Springs vacation just became a tragedy.

Case law is very clear that if a city/town chooses not to enforce its own regulations by inaction, regardless of the reason, then they become culpable in any litigation.

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