Cory Helton


For years, Colorado judges and legislators have struggled to clearly define and delineate public access rights for rivers running through private property. In Colorado, it is settled law that land underlying non-navigable streams is the subject of private ownership, but beyond this basic principle, little is settled. As a result, a dispute has developed between private landowners exercising their right to exclude individuals from their land and recreational river users seeking access to Colorado's rivers. The failure to resolve this longstanding dispute jeopardizes Colorado's multimillion dollar commercial rafting industry and creates avoidable transaction costs. This Note examines the right-to-float debate as it pertains to Colorado law and argues that, to preserve the right to raft Colorado's rivers, the state legislature should adopt the modern and majority rule and grant a limited public access right to Colorado's rivers

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