Posted by: evanstafford | October 4, 2010

On River Access, Douche Bags and Sweet Off-Season Flows

Bailey Fest part deux, the hangover

Bailey Fest part deux, the hangover

Do you ever get the feeling that half of our fine country is made up of pretentious douche bags? It seems like the currents of douchbaggery are always shifting and transforming, submerging and resurfacing. From Focus on the Family to the Tea Baggers (who fittingly already have bag in their name and don’t need me to add anything to make it one of the douchiest names ever) and from Rush Limbaugh to Glenn Beck, there always seems to be a group of and/or individuals who just cannot keep their douchbaggedness to themselves. They’ve got to defame themselves by appearing in the media and attempting to spread their own special form of douchbaggotry to the masses. I’m not trying to pin douchbaggedness exclusively on new-age republicans, douche bags know no political boundaries, however the elephants do have a penchant for proselytizing on the gospel of douchtianity.

Tom redemption at 1st Falls

Alex Clayden slippin into an aqua marine jacuzzi of death

Keck trying to shake off the smell of Texass

In Colorado we now have Lewis W. Shaw the second. One can only assume that the first L.W. Shaw was of pretty douchee lineage himself, for although douchbaggedness is not hereditary, it is easily passed from father to son. At least the former kept his douchbaggery in the fine state of Texas, which in all likelihood is the birth place of all things douchee, if not at least one of its places of origin.

Cutch styling Five Falls

Dave Frank not catching a single damn eddy

Cutch lappin at the Max

Now junior here decided that he wanted to find a special place in the Texas Douche Bag of Fame by doing something especially douchee in Colorado, which in my estimation is what many Texans truly aspire to. And all he wanted to do was to own a section of river. Besides the obvious disconnect between attempting to own something, which cannot be owned, what made, or rather makes this attempt especially doucheworthy is the problem of blocking access to a public waterway.

Justin Meritt with a triple o

River access in CO has always been, and may forever be, a tightrope walk, with paddlers balancing between the depths of losing access on one side and the trenched out warfare of maintaining access through fragile agreements on the other. Why must we resort to fragile agreements? The answer: douche bags. Mainly political douches but occasionally the stray developer slips into the fray. It’s a sham really, as any Colorado representative with half a brain realizes that public access to navigable waterways is recognized as a right in most of this country. They still however refuse to follow through with any solid legislation defining it as such. They just don’t want to piss off any of their buddies who own and/or frequent private fishing reserves and other “private” hideouts that just happen to be located on navigable rivers.

Clayden stoked with the huge turnout

I can just envision their contorted faces, yelling at me after being arrested for trespassing, “I don’t like you sucking around bothering our citizens Lebowski… Keep your ugly fucking goldbricking ass out of my beach community.” Shit sorry, Lebowski flashback, but you get the idea. “This land is my land” is the only line of that chorus they abide by.

Safety third

So, while these losers are debating the future of our public river access, at this point, we can safely assume that they will do nothing and will leave it up to us to negotiate some kind of a treaty with these overzealous property owners. As for the Shaw situation, a treaty was reached but seriously, what kind of pussy cop-out is this shit show. We’ve got to follow their rules to float a river we’ve got as much right to as they do, and, AND we can’t fish it while we float it??? No. We don’t have to abide either. As long as we are not touching the banks we are not trespassing. And if they want to test it, if they want to take it to trying to fish us out of the river and arrest or threaten us or whatever they want to try and do, let them test it and let’s take it to the courts, cause we’ll win.

Red domes and class III boogie so good: photo Tom Janney

ES Tampax, no I did not put-in just for Tampax: photo Tom Janney

Speaking of winning, this has been a year to remember for the North Fork of the South Platte. Bailey Fest and 450 cfs in October? You gotta love it. We took a major stride this summer as a community, embracing Bailey Fest and putting our best river booty forward and making what might be the state’s first official scheduled release a huge success. 139 people said they participated in the event via the AW Bailey Fest survey, so I’ll just assume at least 150 people were there paddling over the weekend, which is a huge turnout.

The man, the myth, the legend himself, Mr. Baileyfest, Ian Foley

Super Max plan b

Saw this same move a couple of times, nice recovery's as well, good to see people steppin it up and not being pussies like our fragile access agreements

About 59% of the people had an exceptional experience, 39% had a great experience and 2% had a moderate experience. Basically nobody had a bad time over the weekend so we owe it to ourselves to reach over and give ourselves a coupla pats on the back. We also owe it to the organizers and the sponsors and AW and Ian Foley to turn the tables on’em and buy them a beer, or fight for river access, or more scheduled releases or become a member, or really all of the above.  You just can’t go wrong with sweet off-season flows.

Free burgers and beer at the take-out! What else do you need?


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