Colorado Supreme Court Denies Access to Riverbeds

A rul­ing from the Col­orado Court deals a blow to fish­er­men and oth­ers who want access to the ’s rivers, reports Ben Gold­farb in High Coun­try News.

Accord­ing to Gold­farb, Col­orado is “ the West­’s most restric­tive state when it comes to aquat­ic access,” and the recent rul­ing keeps it way. The rul­ing revolved around a case in which a claimed the pub­lic should access to the Arkansas Riv­er bed, which was his­tor­i­cal­ly used as a nav­i­ga­ble waterway—thus mak­ing it state-owned land, accord­ing to the plain­tiff in the case against the state, Roger Hill. The high court dis­agreed, say­ing the plain­tiff had no stand­ing to bring the case because the riv­er was nev­er offi­cial­ly des­ig­nat­ed as pub­lic .

In Hill’s view, such restric­tions place unnec­es­sary strain on water­ways in the state. “There are a whole lot of recre­ation­al assets going to waste because we can’t use them. What that means to us is very crowd­ed rivers: Every time you a good spot on the Arkansas, there are too many peo­ple. We have a short­age of recre­ation­al oppor­tu­ni­ties — and a grow­ing demand for them.”

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