Guest Editorial: Whose Side are You On? Why Does Colorado Want to Block Public Rights in Navigable Waters?
Credit: Mark Squillace, Angling Trade
Roger Hill is a 76-year old Coloradan who likes to fish while standing on the bed of the stream. One of his favorite spots is a stretch of the Arkansas River near Texas Creek. A local landowner claims that Roger is trespassing when he stands on the bed adjacent to the landownerís property, and the landowner has repeatedly harassed Roger while he is fishing, throwing rocks at him and leaving threatening notes on his car. The landowner even shot at one of Rogerís fishing buddies. Fortunately, no one was hit, but the landowner did time in jail for that little stunt.
Roger claims a right to fish from the bed on the grounds that the stretch of the Arkansas River where he fishes is navigable and that Colorado thus owns the bed of the stream. If Roger is right in claiming that the Arkansas River is navigable, then he stands on firm legal ground, but he does not want to risk getting shot to prove his point. So, Roger sued the landowner. Now, Colorado has moved to have the case dismissed, not because the Arkansas River is not navigable, but rather because the State claims it is an indispensable party to any case determining title to the bed of the Arkansas River, but further that it cannot be made a party without its consent. Mind you, the State could simply waive its claim of immunity to suit and allow people like Roger to protect their legal right to fish. Instead the State is actively seeking to block Rogerís claim that he has the right to access navigable streams.
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE ON THE ANGLING TRADE WEBSITE: https://www.anglingtrade.com/2018/05/21/guest-editorial-whose-side-are-you-on-why-does-colorado-want-to-block-public-rights-in-navigable-waters/