May 25, 2005

Recreational flows

The commercial whitewater businesses in the Upper Arkansas Valley are lobbying for more water..

They want more water released from higher reservoirs for better rafting and kayaking, whether that timetable suits downstream users (towns, farmers) or not--and of course whether it's good for the aquatic environment, insect hatches, fish spawning, etc. or not. (But I do see that Salida's activist TU-ers are supporting this request.)

Jerry Mallett, quoted in the article, is a veteran mouthpiece for commercial rafting (known to anglers as "the rubber hatch").

Once when I was a reporter for the Cañon City Daily Record, I did a story on that year's boating fatalities--there are always several.

The next day, Mallett was on the telephone. Reporting on deaths would scare away customers, he whined on behalf of the outfitters' association.

I pointed out that his clients all had names like "Whitewater Adventure Outfitters," "Adventure Quest," and so on. And all the others had "Expeditions" in their names.

Obviously, a half-day float trip paralleling U.S. 50 with a bus ride at the end hardly qualified as an "expedition." Surely that was false advertising.

And if there was no risk of death, injury, or arrest, how could you possibly call it an "adventure"?

He hung up. And now he is a county commissioner.

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