Parks and rec commission to discuss Yampa River Management Plan | SteamboatToday.com

Parks and rec commission to discuss Yampa River Management Plan

Tubers and sunbathers enjoy a sunny day near Charlie's Hole this summer on the Yampa River.

— The highlights and lowlights of summer recreation on the Yampa River will be the focus of a Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission work session Wednesday night.

The commission will learn that 13 commercial river outfitters sent 14,791 tubers, 529 anglers, 419 kayakers, 815 stand-up paddle boarders and 802 rafters and canoeists to the town stretch of the Yampa during the most recent summer season.

The commission also will learn challenges remain with educating the public and private river users about respecting the river.

The negative impacts stemming from river recreation in Steamboat again included littering, conflicts between anglers and others floating the river, and consumption of alcohol in public, among other things.

In recent weeks, city staff has been talking with local river advocacy and user groups about possible ways to boost the messages of the Respect the Yampa campaign that was launched in 2009 to promote responsible river recreation.

During preliminary budget discussions last year, the city’s Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department requested an additional staff member who could help with river enforcement, but the position did not make it in the budget.

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Without additional staff, the city’s river education efforts could include such things as talking to local stores that sell tubes and the lodging community about the rules on the river or bringing on a summer intern to help.

Because commercial river outfitters are regulated by the city and already educate their customers on the dos and don’ts of using the river, the education efforts would primarily focus on private river users.

The Parks and Recreation Commission will start its discussion about summer recreation on the Yampa at 5:30 p.m. in Citizens Hall, and public comment will be accepted.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10