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Thread: A glimmer of hope for opening up seaplane access in Colorado

  1. #1
    SPA MEMBER Steve McCaughey's Avatar
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    A glimmer of hope for opening up seaplane access in Colorado

    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.

  2. #2
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    I seem to remember that the corps of engineers in Colorado were at the root of the problem on this years ago. Are they no longer in charge?
    Bee Sea n'ya, Bruce Hinds Director at SPA and WA-SPA, Seabee Club Newsletter
    Editor WSPA Newsletter Email:Bruce(at)WA-SPA.org

  3. #3
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    Colorado Progress

    The Colorado State Parks system has obtained "recreational rights" from the Corps. The real problem has two components. First, the State of Colorado published a regulation, 2011 Land and Water Regulations, that specifically prohibited "aircraft" operations on State Parks. That is the big part since the State Parks "own" the rights to a major portion of the waterways that are large enough for seaplane operations. The second part of the problem was that the "regulation" was interpreted by other "water" owners as a side-wide prohibition. The State has agreed to write a "Position Letter" to clarify that the regulation applies to State Parks only. This does not open all other waters, it just allows the owners to make their own decision.

    I am in negotiations now with two "water owners" that seems interested in allowing us access. I will keep you posted.

  4. #4
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    Correction on the above post...side-wide should read State-wide.

  5. #5
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    Great work Ray, this is fantastic news.
    I wonder if the fact that seaplanes on the water are considered watercraft by the coast guard regs...
    Bee Sea n'ya, Bruce Hinds Director at SPA and WA-SPA, Seabee Club Newsletter
    Editor WSPA Newsletter Email:Bruce(at)WA-SPA.org

  6. #6
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    Hello... I am an amphibian owner in Colorado and had great hopes for Ray Hawkins' efforts. He and I met with the Mayor of Longmont last fall about hosting a one-weekend seaplane fly-in on Union Reservoir, a CITY park just east of Longmont. Since the reservoir isn't controlled by the state, the City can make the decisions. I thought the meeting was promising.
    But now... I've lost contact with Ray Hawkins and haven't heard from him since that meeting. I've tried his email and phone and both are cancelled. Can anyone help?
    Stephanie Wells swells_4@msn.com

  7. #7
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    I don't have his information, but I think Peter Soby in Boulder does. Try him at windyhillfarm@mindspring.com
    Bee Sea n'ya, Bruce Hinds Director at SPA and WA-SPA, Seabee Club Newsletter
    Editor WSPA Newsletter Email:Bruce(at)WA-SPA.org

  8. #8
    Anything new for Colorado?

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