‘Row vs. wade’
FRISCO – While several opinions about recreational water use surfaced at a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Resource Project meeting last week, one point continued to emerge: Recreational water use probably isn’t a threat to the state’s water supply.”A 747 could fly into this building in the next 10 minutes, but it probably won’t. Just like most of the things said today in this room (about water use) probably won’t happen,” Lindstrom said.Paul Flack, one of the three discussion panel members, said recreational water use has historically taken a back seat to traditional uses, including agricultural, domestic and industrial. “We (recreational water representatives) are at the table. Traditional (water use) folks will have to start paying attention to us,” Flack said. “We’re not in the back seat of the bus. We’re driving the bus.”The three traditional uses are consumptive, making them water rights.Lindstrom said recreational use is nonconsumptive and is a flow right instead.”It doesn’t require water consumption,” Lindstrom said. “The real issue is everybody is afraid of what (recreational use) might do, not what it will do.”Lindstrom was instrumental in defeating Senate Bill 62 during the last legislative session, which would have limited the amount of water communities can use for kayak courses and other river activities to 350 cubic feet per second (cfs). It would also have required that at least 10 kayaks be in the water at any given time. Lindstrom said he was surprised by how much many in the state legislature don’t know about water. He added that the conflict between fishers, kayakers and rafters should be addressed because of overuse.”It’s the same with people dying while they’re skiing, because the slopes are too crowded,” he said.County Commissioner Tom Long and Reed Dils of the Arkansas Outfitters Association rounded out the discussion panel.”The real argument here … is row versus wade, the tension between the types of recreation,” Long said. “The tension between water users will never be eliminated.”Dils said the issue of flow has always been contentious. He was vital in the development of the voluntary Arkansas River Flow Program to regulate flow by allowing for 750 cubic feet per second to be released if available.Jennifer Harper can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 248, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.Water discussionThe Colorado Outdoor Recreation Resource Project (CORRP) met at the County Commons in Frisco for a panel discussion entitled “Colorado’s Rivers – The Tension of Values” focused on water-based recreation.CORRP is a 20-year-old networking organization for Colorado’s public and private outdoor recreation providers, nonprofit organizations, media and other private sector individuals who have a vested interest in the future of recreation on state public lands.
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