Yampa River Use Fees

Join the conversation around recreation and the Yampa River.  Do you think there is a issue with the current types and levels of recreation on the Yampa River? What are those problems and the suggestions for solving them?

City Staff and the Parks and Recreation Commission have been tasked with investigating and providing an update on the following items:

  1. Consider opportunities for a tax or fee on river tube sales.
  2. Consider user fees for people floating/tubing the river.

Staff prepared background information, an action plan, and several questions for discussion and input from the Parks & Recreation Commission and the public, which was presented at the September 25 meeting. Additional meeting(s) are planned as necessary to provide updates and determine next steps with City Council.


BACKGROUND

Since the 2004 Yampa River Management plan was adopted, private and commercial river recreation use has increased. Since that time, staff has worked with partners and the community on opportunities to address parking, trash, noise and access issues. Police are challenged with enforcement yet responds to calls as necessary. Rangers have been hired to provide education yet there is ongoing discussion about the benefits of these operations.

As part of this discussion, following questions are being asked of land managers in approximately 10 other popular tubing communities:

  1. Do you currently charge river users (commercial or private) any fees for river recreation?
  2. Besides local sales tax, is there a local tax/fee on the sale of any type of watercraft (tubes, boats, paddleboards) in your area? If so, what is that tax/fee used for?
  3. Do you issue permits for any commercial river operations? If so, can you describe the process and fees associated with the permit?
  4. What are the issues/challenges that you face with local river recreation? What are you doing to address these issues?
  5. Are there any limits on river recreation in your area? Do you have any type of monitoring of river recreation?


QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

City Council has tasked City Staff and Parks & Recreation Commission to investigate fees/taxes on tube purchases and user fees for those tubing on the river. As Parks & Recreation Commission discusses these topics, some additional questions and concepts to discuss may include:

  • Should Staff add/change the list of questions they are asking other communities?
  • What is the problem the community wants to address?
  • Can we break the problem down further to address each component?
  • Does the community agree these are problems that need to be addressed?
  • If a fee/tax is implemented, what would the funds be used for?
  • If a user fee is implemented, what would the funds be used for?
  • If a permit system was allowed for private recreation, what resources are needed to implement such a program and would it be effective?
  • Should there be a cap on the number of people that tube the river?
  • Should access to the river from City property (for the purpose of tubing) be restricted/illegal on certain stretches of the Yampa River?
  • Should commercial operations be allowed to increase the number of tubers per day?
  • Should we increase or decrease the number of outfitters that provide tubing services on the river?
  • Should we enforce existing ordinances to restrict alcohol on the river?
  • Should the City require a minimum thickness for all tube sales to prevent flats and tubes left as trash on the riverbanks?

Staff plans to continue to contact other communities to see if they are charging fees/taxes on tubers and how they are managing river recreation. Staff will provide an update to the Commission on November 13, 2019 and identify what others are doing and some of their successes and ongoing challenges.

As the process moves forwards, we want to hear from you. Do you think there is a problem with tubing on the Yampa River? If so, what is that problem? Too many tubers? Too much trash? Too little enforcement? Let us know your thoughts!

City Staff and the Parks and Recreation Commission have been tasked with investigating and providing an update on the following items:

  1. Consider opportunities for a tax or fee on river tube sales.
  2. Consider user fees for people floating/tubing the river.

Staff prepared background information, an action plan, and several questions for discussion and input from the Parks & Recreation Commission and the public, which was presented at the September 25 meeting. Additional meeting(s) are planned as necessary to provide updates and determine next steps with City Council.


BACKGROUND

Since the 2004 Yampa River Management plan was adopted, private and commercial river recreation use has increased. Since that time, staff has worked with partners and the community on opportunities to address parking, trash, noise and access issues. Police are challenged with enforcement yet responds to calls as necessary. Rangers have been hired to provide education yet there is ongoing discussion about the benefits of these operations.

As part of this discussion, following questions are being asked of land managers in approximately 10 other popular tubing communities:

  1. Do you currently charge river users (commercial or private) any fees for river recreation?
  2. Besides local sales tax, is there a local tax/fee on the sale of any type of watercraft (tubes, boats, paddleboards) in your area? If so, what is that tax/fee used for?
  3. Do you issue permits for any commercial river operations? If so, can you describe the process and fees associated with the permit?
  4. What are the issues/challenges that you face with local river recreation? What are you doing to address these issues?
  5. Are there any limits on river recreation in your area? Do you have any type of monitoring of river recreation?


QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

City Council has tasked City Staff and Parks & Recreation Commission to investigate fees/taxes on tube purchases and user fees for those tubing on the river. As Parks & Recreation Commission discusses these topics, some additional questions and concepts to discuss may include:

  • Should Staff add/change the list of questions they are asking other communities?
  • What is the problem the community wants to address?
  • Can we break the problem down further to address each component?
  • Does the community agree these are problems that need to be addressed?
  • If a fee/tax is implemented, what would the funds be used for?
  • If a user fee is implemented, what would the funds be used for?
  • If a permit system was allowed for private recreation, what resources are needed to implement such a program and would it be effective?
  • Should there be a cap on the number of people that tube the river?
  • Should access to the river from City property (for the purpose of tubing) be restricted/illegal on certain stretches of the Yampa River?
  • Should commercial operations be allowed to increase the number of tubers per day?
  • Should we increase or decrease the number of outfitters that provide tubing services on the river?
  • Should we enforce existing ordinances to restrict alcohol on the river?
  • Should the City require a minimum thickness for all tube sales to prevent flats and tubes left as trash on the riverbanks?

Staff plans to continue to contact other communities to see if they are charging fees/taxes on tubers and how they are managing river recreation. Staff will provide an update to the Commission on November 13, 2019 and identify what others are doing and some of their successes and ongoing challenges.

As the process moves forwards, we want to hear from you. Do you think there is a problem with tubing on the Yampa River? If so, what is that problem? Too many tubers? Too much trash? Too little enforcement? Let us know your thoughts!

Discussions: All (1) Open (1)