Lawmakers are considering new rules for kayak course
DENVER – Worried that kayaking, fishing and swimming parks are siphoning off water from other users, a legislative committee approved a measure Thursday designed to tighten the rules for recreational water use.The Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources & Energy Committee approved the measure (Senate Bill 62) despite opposition from Golden, Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs, Aspen and Vail, which have spent a lot of money building kayak courses.The bill now goes to the full Senate for debate.The measure would set limits on the amount of water communities can use for kayak courses and similar recreation channels. It also requires future courses to use water-saving techniques.Sen. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, said he wants to preserve Colorado’s 125-year-old legal system, which protects water owners.Opponents said the bill could cripple the state’s recreational water industry, which blossomed after lawmakers allowed recreational uses for water.”This is an effort to eliminate any meaningful water right for in-channel diversions,” water attorney Glenn Porzak told lawmakers.To secure recreational water under current law, users must get permission from the water rights owners and adjacent landowners.Taylor said the current law’s description of how much water can be diverted, enough for a reasonable recreational experience, is vague.The state Supreme Court was asked to rule on the current definition after it upheld Golden’s right to use water for a kayak course.The court has not indicated when it might rule on that case.Rescuers reach survivor of plane crash near MontroseMONTROSE – Authorities rescued a male pilot Thursday evening near the wreckage of a single-engine airplane that went down in rugged terrain and snow on the Uncompahgre Plateau.The pilot wasn’t injured when the single-engine Cessna 172 went down, Montrose County dispatcher Mona Perez said. He was the only person onboard.Authorities detected an emergency transmitter signal three times Wednesday evening, but overcast skies and low clouds hindered the search, Montrose County Undersheriff Richard D. Denies said. Rescuers in a helicopter spotted the downed aircraft and the man Thursday afternoon.Gary Mayer, regional operations officer for the Federal Aviation Administration in Seattle, said the FAA wasn’t tracking the plane. He had no other information about the pilot or the plane’s flight plan.
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