I joined Ray Hawkins via teleconference this morning for a promising two hour meeting with officials from numerous Colorado governmental offices to discuss opening up access to seaplanes in Colorado waters. Officials included representatives from the Colorado Tourism Office, Colorado State Parks and Wildlife, and Senator Kent Lambert among several others.
Ray has been working very diligently to get approval for a seaplane event in Colorado to demonstrate to the state officials that seaplanes are compatible with current users on Colorado lakes. While the Colorado Parks representatives pushed back on the notion that seaplanes could not operate safely on their very heavily congested lakes (boat traffic), SPA made several points that would negate their concerns. Additionally, Senator Lambert agreed with SPA, and added that Colorado may be exposing themselves to possible lawsuits for interfering with interstate commerce by prohibiting and interfering with seaplane operations on their lakes.
While the parks representatives continued to push back repeatedly based on concerns of displacing current users and safety issues , the senator was quick to agree with SPA on both potential positive economic stimulus that seaplanes could bring to the state, and that their operation in Colorado would not have any detrimental effect to the current users.
In the end, the participants agreed to to continue exploring the issue, and to revisit the issue in a couple of months. My thanks to Ray Hawkins for his considerable efforts, and to Senator Lambert for his support. SPA will be working with Ray to continue to build the case for seaplane compatibility over the next few months as we look forward to our next meeting with the officials.
While we may not have won the battle today, we did make significant progress by even opening the topic for discussion, the parks service has made its objections and has agreed to revisit the topic. Thanks to very vocal support from Senator Lambert, this issue will be hard to sweep under the table.