As more tubers are shuttled to Yampa River, some parks and rec commissioners eye new regulations
Steamboat Springs — Some Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation commissioners want property management companies who shuttle tubers to and from the Yampa River to follow the same rules as commercial river outfitters.
“If they are potentially keeping a stash of tubes, and they are driving people to these places (on the river), they should adhere to the rules of commercial operators,” Commission Chairman Alan Koermer said.
Craig Robinson, the city’s parks, open space and trails manager, told the commission Wednesday night that some property management companies are shuttling tubers to the places on river at which the city discourages tubing, such as Rotary Park.
Under the city’s current rules, property management companies that shuttle tubers are not considered commercial river operators unless they charge a fee for the service.
Therefore, the city cannot regulate them.
Commercial outfitters pay the city a fee and only send tubers south of the Fifth Street bridge downtown.
“We don’t have controls in place to restrict private users,” Robinson said.
The discussion about property management companies shuttling tubers to and from the Yampa comes amidst a broader discussion about regulating summer recreation on the river.
Robinson said city staff currently doesn’t have the resources or time to patrol the Yampa and work to proactively mitigate things like litter and alcohol consumption.
“Right now, we react to phone calls, and that’s not helping the situation,” he said.
The city is considering adding a river ranger to the 2016 budget.
Parks and rec commissioners have, in recent months, discussed other ideas, including river usage fees.
The commissioners spent Wednesday evening discussing what to do about the property management companies and the shuttles.
Before it considers recommending a new ordinance to regulate the shuttles, commissioners wanted to first reach out to the property management companies to discuss the issue and try to come up with a solution.
Robinson noted there is some benefit to having shuttle buses drop off tubers because it alleviates parking congestion and traffic.
He said city staff will work to determine how many property management companies are taking people to the river to tube.
He also said staff could meet with the Steamboat Lodging Committee.
“A lot of these companies don’t run summer shuttles,” Koermer said. “We need to figure out who is doing this.”
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