NIMBYs vs. Rafters

Landowners in Gunnison, Colorado are claiming that rafters passing through on the banks of the Gunnison River are trespassing. Do property rights extend into the water?

David Bollier reports on the controversy, where Colorado law includes some provisions for ownership of the river, lake beds and banks.

Bollier writes, "As for rafting, one court ruling declared that rafters need permission to float through someone else's land, or face criminal penalties. Another court ruling says it's okay to float through someone's land, but only if you don't touch the banks or bottom.

To try to clarify the law, Colorado Representative Kathleen E. Curry introduced a bill that would make it legal for commercial rafting companies to use designated parts of the state's rivers without fear of criminal or civil liability."

Full Story: Who Owns the River?



Sow the Wind...

The landowners best be careful before shaking that tree; most 'private' land in the state of Colorado comes with only the surface rights intact - the water and mineral rights, and in many instances the timber rights are typically owned by others.

I doubt many of the owners trying to shut down commercial rafting have patented claims to their property, and may find themselves counter-sued for activities like, say, collecting rainwater, which is illegal under Colorado law.

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