There may be a new dawn in river and stream access in Colorado or access may forever disappear.

In the west, Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting.

When I moved to Colorado several decades ago, the biggest shock, I received was learning or attempting to understand Colorado’s water laws. In the Midwest, where I’m from, water was a problem: we worked to get rid of. My property law professor was an expert in field pipes. Water Pipes were pipes put into the ground by the federal government to help drain water from the fields. Any issues were over ownership, control and maintenance of the pipes, not the water that came out of them.

Colorado Water Laws were developed when the only use of water was for drinking, (when no whiskey was around), irrigating crops and mining. Until the last decade, use of water for any other purpose was not only a civil issue subjecting you to a suit for the loss of the water, but possible criminal action for theft.

In 1979 the Colorado Supreme Court Decision People v. Emmert, 198 Colo. 137; 597 P.2d 1025; 1979 Colo. LEXIS 814; 6 A.L.R.4th 1016 was decided, which allowed people to float on the surface, but not touch the sides or the banks of a river. That decision created an uneasiness that has survived, mostly allowing whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing in many areas.

Even so, many landowners disagreed with the decision. That disagreement was based on owning both sides of the land or “touching” the bottom of the river. Landowners would build dams so that a kayaker had no choice but to “touch” the bottom to get around the dam. When you saw a dam, you usually saw a sheriff’s deputy at the takeout ready to issue you a ticket.

If a landowner owned both sides of the river another trick, you would see is fencing strung across the river, sometimes with railroad ties attached to prevent boaters from paddling down the river. Most boaters called them death traps because getting caught in one could kill a kayaker.

However, the worst was paddling down the river and hearing shots or looking to the bank and see someone pointing a gun at you. At least once a year I would receive a call from a kayaker who had been threatened at the end of a gun for floating on a river or creek. Generally, there was nothing you could do. The district attorneys did not like prosecuting paddlers for trespass, (after a lot of phone calls form a lot of CO attorneys). At the same time, it was more difficult for them to prosecute a voter for “defending” their property.

The city of Golden took a bold step and was able to convince the Colorado Supreme Court that water had a recreation purpose. That allowed Golden and a dozen other cities to put in kayak parks. Until that decision, the park could be built, but there might not be any water in the park to float a boat.

However, in the rule areas, fencing and guns still ruled. However, this may be coming to a head. In an article published February 3, Who owns the bottom of the river? Lawsuit pitting fisherman against landowner on the Arkansas River could answer the question
a fisherman has taken the issue to court. The article exams a lawsuit filed by a fisherman against a landowner. Read the article to get the facts straight, but generally the fisherman was tired of having rocks thrown at him and threatened by a gun when he enters the river at a public location, a river put in and walks downstream fishing.

The landowner may not own the water, but he owns the bottom of the river, or so he claims. (The landowner was prosecuted for shooting at the fisherman!)

The Utah Supreme Court looked at this same issue several years ago and concluded the state owned the bottom of the river. Utah Stream Access Coalition, v. Orange Street Development, 2017 UT 82; 852 Utah Adv. Rep. 69; 2017 Utah LEXIS 200. However, the legislature then passed a law overturning the decision. See Recreational Use of Public Water on Private Property. You can’t fish on a stream in Utah, but Utah believes you should be able to mine our National Parks and Monuments.

How will the Federal District Court, where this case has been filed, rule? I have no idea; I’m not a court watcher. I want them to rule that standing on a river bottom is not a reason to get shot. I want them to rule that putting your hands down to get over a manmade dam is not a reason to be arrested for trespass. I want them to rule that it is 2018 and tourism is the larger employer, largest generator of jobs and the basis for Colorado’s economy and shooting tourists and locals should not be allowed because they can’t walk on the water.

Go here to read the complaint filed in this case: Complaint

Do Something

Keep your finger’s crossed, not much else we can do except watch and wait for the decision.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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Save Water Public Forum to be heldin Charleston WV January 9

Safe Water Public Forum – Jan. 9 in Charleston
In conjunction with the 2 year anniversary of the water crisis, WV Rivers and local partners are hosting a Safe Water Public Forum at the WV Culture Center in Charleston on January 9, 3-6pm. Join us to learn about potential contamination sources to local water supplies, discuss ways to manage those threats, understand how to provide input on source water protection plans, and connect with local groups working to improve water quality. There will also be free food, kids activities, door prizes, and live music!

Visit the event’s webpage for more information and let us know your coming by joining and sharing the event on Facebook!

What: Safe Water Public Forum
When: January 9 – 3-6pm
Where: Culture Center, State Capitol Grounds in Charleston

For more information call 304-637-7201.

For more information contact West Virginia Rivers Coalition



Springs Stewardship Institute, part of the Museum of Northern Arizona strives to preserve the Waters of our World

For More Information Please click here.


President’s Environmental Youth

President’s Environmental Youth Award

The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) recognizes outstanding environmental projects by K-12 youth. The PEYA program promotes awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. Since 1971, the President of the United States has joined with EPA to recognize young people for protecting our nation’s air, water, land, and ecology. It is one of the most important ways EPA and the Administration demonstrate commitment to environmental stewardship efforts created and conducted by our nation’s youth.

Each year the PEYA program honors a wide variety of projects developed by young individuals, school classes (kindergarten through high school), summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness. Thousands of young people from all 50 states and the U.S. territories have submitted projects to EPA for consideration. Winning projects in the past have covered a wide range of subject areas, including:

  • restoring native habitats
  • recycling in schools and communities
  • construction of nature preserves
  • tree planting
  • installing renewable energy projects
  • creating videos, skits and newsletters that focused on environmental issues
  • participating in many other creative sustainability efforts

Evaluation results consistently demonstrate that participation in the PEYA program is frequently a life-changing experience for many of the young people and their project sponsors.

In Spring 2015, the PEYA program was updated. The award portion was expanded to include awards for two age groups.

Applications are due December 31, 2015.

A regional panel will review applications from each of EPA’s 10 regions. Up to two winners will be selected from each region – one for Grades K-5 and one for Grades 6-12.

Wendy Dew

Outreach and Education Coordinator

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Region 8 ( CO, ND, SD, MT, UT, WY )

1595 Wynkoop Street, 8OC

Denver CO 80202-1129


303-312-6605 office


Environmental Educator Needed by Eco-Cycle’s School Recycling and Environmental Education Program

Environmental Educator Needed by Eco-Cycle’s School Recycling and Environmental Education Program

Eco-Cycle, administrator of the award-winning Boulder County School Recycling and Environmental Education Program, is seeking an environmental educator for presentations on a wide variety of environmental topics in K-12th grade classrooms. (A full description of the program is available on Eco-Cycle’s website at cyndra.

Job Responsibilities –

1. presentations on a wide variety of environmental topics for K-12th grade students using classroom, field trip and assembly formats

2. assist with:

a. phone surveys, web research and mailings

b. preparation of fliers, reports, letters, etc.

c. monitoring school progress in collection of recyclables and compostables

d. tabling, lunchroom monitoring and other outreach for Green Star (Zero Waste) Schools

e. other special projects

3. miscellaneous duties such as purchasing supplies, delivering materials to schools, maintenance and cleaning of program equipment

4. help sort and deliver books for the Children’s Used Book Project

Qualifications –

1. dedication to environmental work

2. experience teaching in a classroom setting

3. love of working with children, including a wide range of ages

4. writing and computer skills

5. ability to organize time well and be flexible with changing tasks

6. reliable vehicle to provide own transport to schools (mileage paid)

7. enjoy wearing costumes, including an elf and a superhero

Working Conditions and Benefits –

1. full-time position with full benefits

2. leave without pay, June through August, annually

3. mileage reimbursement for use of own car

4. all program preparation and driving time is included as part of paid hours

5. job requires lifting loads up to 50 pounds, carrying materials up and down stairs, transferring materials in and out of a car or other vehicle

Michele Melio

Green Star Schools® Project Manager

P.O. Box 19006

Boulder, CO 80308

(303) 444-6634 x 118

FT Environmental Educator Needed by Eco.pdf


Clean Trails

Clean Trails News
Our Amazing Volunteers
Collaboration is Our Middle Name
Hot Spots to Hike
Postcards From the Trail
Outdoor Photo Tips
Volunteer Spotlight

Amanda Wallander Roberts is on a mission to bring some organization to the Clean Trails organization-if that makes any sense! Amanda is the pulse of the organizational and program development for Clean Trails. She works on the systems and processes that allow individuals to get involved with Clean Trails and determine what they do once they are on board.

Collaborative Spotlight

LIONSHARES (Lionsgate Entertainment)

Who says cleaning up can’t be fun and productive? Another great collaboration this weekend with LIONSHARES (Lionsgate Entertainment’s volunteer program) at Solstice Canyon in the Malibu National Recreation area. A crew of 25 collected a 55 gallon bag of roughly 500 pieces of litter comprised of water bottles, labels, lids, and security seals at the regularly maintained trail.LIONSHARES is a volunteer program that seeks to provide opportunities for employees within the Lionsgate Entertainment family to partner with a diverse range of charitable organizations. The program not only enriches the Lionsgate work experience through cultural and educational outreach, but also positively interacts and invests in the local and global community.

Corporate Social Responsibility is an important cornerstone of our outreach strategy. If your company is looking for a way to give back to its community, contact our CSR Director Annette Poliwka to learn how your company can participate.

Visit Our Sponsor

We really like this company! In addition to excellent customer service and an extensive selection of products, they offer small grants to Jeep clubs and other organizations to promote responsible recreation and to clean up after themselves and others. Here’s a little more about this great company…

ExtremeTerrain is a collection of dedicated enthusiasts striving to bring you the best Jeep Wrangler aftermarket parts and accessories at the best prices possible. When shopping for Jeep parts online, you want to know you’re ordering from a reliable and trustworthy company that has extensive experience with both OEM and aftermarket Jeep parts. ExtremeTerrain was founded as an outlet for Jeep enthusiasts to seek advice from like-minded people and get the best Jeep Wrangler parts on the market without paying for ridiculous shipping and handling costs. We’re experts on anything and everything Wrangler as we stock the Jeep parts you seek and have the experience to back it up.

Order a free catalog, read a review or two and give us a call if you have any questions. Whether you’re into crawling canyons, climbing mountains, wheeling a tough trail, exploring the off-road, or just cruising the open highway give us a call to chat about your next modification-we’ll be happy to help recommend the right Wrangler parts for your project and your budget!

Things We Like

GOCO invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces. Our independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created by voters in 1992, GOCO has committed more than $825 million in lottery proceeds to more than 4,500 projects in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support.

LinksClean Trails

Extreme Terrain

Great Outdoors Colorado

Trail Talk
Dear JIM,Clean Trails is on the move! We hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter. Along with a bit about what we’ve been up to, we’ve selected some interesting content we hope you will appreciate . Let us know what you think…
15 Best Day Hikes

Here they are: GP’s best day hikes, as told by our readers. All of the words and images below are straight from your submissions to our GP best hikes competition. We edited and condensed as necessary (some of you really like to type) and shot for widest possible range of locations and types of stories. What we were left with is a diverse hodgepodge of outdoor activity, organized from west to east, starting with Hawaii in the Pacific and ending with St. John in the Atlantic. Without further ado: 15 favorite hiking destinations, as told by GP readers, for GP readers.

Postcard From the Trail
The Grand Canyon

Introducing our new blog series, Postcards from the Trail. It gives our readers, supporters, and volunteers the opportunity to share their outdoor adventures, experiences, and memories with the Clean Trails community.

This post in our series is from Chris Fortunato. Chris is a Clean Trails volunteer in San Diego, CA. He recently spent some time at the Grand Canyon. Here’s an excerpt:

“Often times it’s the little details that make an adventure special and add a personal element to a trip. It could be the unexpected memories you create after taking that wrong turn and getting lost. Or maybe that morning cup of coffee while overlooking the view outside your tent. Even the smell of dusty gear when you get home, jolting you back to the trail for just a moment. These little gems make a huge impact, even when visiting overwhelming locations like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon. They may not make the trip, considering the world class sights to be seen, but they add another level of satisfaction.”

If you have something that you would like to contribute, Please contact our Web/Blog Editor Tim Brown.

Wildlife Photo Tips

We bet everyone has tried to get that perfect wildlife shot on one of their hikes. We found these great tips at Backpacker Magazine that should help you improve your photography.

“Practice at home, zoom in, and follow these other simple rules to score an intimate shot that captures an animal’s character.”

“We believe that people are naturally responsible; if we encourage them to care for their favorite places, to pick up after themselves and others, then our trails will become self-sufficient, clean, and more enjoyable. Our job is to show them the way. Thanks for joining us!”Sincerely,

Richard L. P. Solosky
Interim Executive Director, Clean Trails

What if everyone picked up just one piece of litter?Trails that are littered tend to get more littered, but trails that are clean remain that way. If you know of a trail or area that is in need of clean up and would like to coordinate an event, please let us know.

Oh, and please like and follow us on your favorite social media channel.


Know about Clean Trails? You Should


No. 11
Clean Trails News
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Trail Talk

When many do a little, much can be gained.
Our grass roots efforts continue to grow. In the last month we have done awareness and maintenance events in the San Diego, Salt Lake City, and Denver metropolitan areas. We are working to schedule more activities in those areas and grow our presence in 7 others across the west and in New York City. Consider joining us in developing a nationwide network of trail stewards to keep the more than 50,000 public trails across our country as pristine as nature intended.Highlighted Activities

  • One of our favorite activities is cleaning up an area. In the above image, our Utah State Coordinator, Nate Hawkes organized a clean up activity along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, in Provo Canyon at Canyon Glen Park near Johnson’s Bowl. His crew of 8 collected an estimated 150 pounds of trash, enough to fill over a half dozen large trash bags of litter.
  • In Colorado, Clean Trails’ State Coordinator Lindsay Walton kicked off a collaborative effort with Jefferson County Open Space at Mt. Falcon, which is nestled in the foothills just west of Denver. Just a few hours of spreading our message of responsible recreation, netted close to a dozen prospective volunteers, while touching close to 150 people with our message.

Consider joining us in your area, we can help you get started building a community effort at your favorite trail. Remember that Litter begets litter, areas that are littered always get more littered, while areas that are litter free, tend to stay that way.

Find us on social media!

Stay tuned to all the Clean Trails conversations on your favorite social media channel. Consider following us on these select channels:

Join us in keeping our nations’ trails litter free:
Because you’re getting this newsletter, we know you identify with our mission; if you are looking for a rewarding volunteer experience building a nation-wide network of volunteers, email our Interim Executive Director your resume and we’ll find you a great organizational opportunity. rsolosky

0bbdaf39-a69f-4c2b-93b6-a9a3406946e1.jpgT.pngVolunteer Spotlight – Amanda Wallander RobertsAmanda Wallander Roberts is on a mission to bring some organization to the Clean Trails organization–if that makes any sense! Amanda is the pulse of the organizational and program development for Clean Trails. She works on the systems and processes that allow individuals to get involved with Clean Trails and determine what they do once they are on board. This very organic and fluid undertaking has evolved into a logic model for the program. Future projects include an evaluation plan for the organization. See, she really does organize the organization! Read Amanda’s story here
75f4719e-e7f6-4312-8c6a-b0669fe27e27.jpgT.pngLatest Blog Post – How Clean Trails WorksThe key to inspiring participation and creating a stronger community around our project is to facilitate a social interaction. Our project is designed to encourage hikers of all ages to band together and take the initiative to maintain their favorite trails. Our objective is to create a sense of pride and purpose for our trail systems, and keep them as pristine as the wild places to which they take us. Read our latest post here.

We’re really interested in your stories, send them to info

LOVE THE LAND | LOSE THE LITTERStudy after study shows the highest indicator that someone will pick up litter is if they witness someone else picking up litter. That’s because peer group norms are more powerful than incentives, and when worked in concert with each other, they can provide impressive behavioral change impacts.ENLIST YOUR FRIENDS, SEND THEM THIS EMAIL AND ASK THEM TO JOIN TOO!